He stood behind us leaning on his cane. A long carved wooden cane. His pants carried the history of the many concerts he attended. Each patch represented a piece of his history. His hair nearly as long as my own, covered the tie dye t-shirt that he wore as a reflection of the youth he saw when he looked in the mirror. Beside him was his wife, or girl friend , once hot. Once rolling in the mud of Woodstock, now more grandmotherly than hot mama. Her tee tucked firmly into her high-waisted elastic pants, her goal was comfort.
He alternated standing up to dance while he leaned on the cane to maintain his balance. They felt the music. They felt each other. Their history. He paid no mind to the pretty girls that danced around them. His laser focus, if it could be called that, under the hair on his face, was on the music. It wasn’t clear if it was the particular show that moved him to dance, or merely the reminder of a time lost many years ago.
Listening to the show, yet carefully watching them, I looked on enviously, not at the clothes that had seen better days, or the beard that had yellowed with age, but at the history they shared together. No words were necessary. They moved in unison as the current events became their recent history. No doubts. No worries that the other would not be there. They made some love child hippie promise long ago and the wearing of time didn’t matter to either of them. It was a strangely beautiful site. Remnants of American history. Cast offs of our culture… Hell no, we won’t go… Echoes of wars fought still relevant today. Another time, another place. Strange beauty in the silent protest that won and lost. Carrying the weight of his memories, though temporarily forgotten in the surrender of his apparent joy. Together they would leave, and together they would place their heads, still hearing the echo in their ears.
Beautiful protest. Beautiful timeless love. Hidden beneath the obvious. Two young people were hidden beneath the layers of time, and this is all they needed to be. People gawked, not seeing what I saw. “Dirty hippie” one man muttered to his wife who looked away, alone they both were, although together. Their unions not to be compared.