We headed downhill to check out the lay of the land. It’d been a great night but a long one and those damp rows of corn patch were not conducive to sleep. We found the main path which led us down towards stage-right. We’d been hearing about these “Hog Farm” folks from the announcers. They’d competently set up a first-aid clinic and the Freak-Out Tent. There were already stories of bad acid circulating. We could see the bands from that spot but we wanted to get comfortable. Leona had a lot of drugs with her. She planned to take a large percentage of them tonight and, lightweight that I was, I certainly planned to partake. A place where we could get horizontal sounded very cool to me so we headed back up the hill. We found an empty wine jug for water and some chick was selling Oreos, four for a buck. We bought all she had.
A lightyear from the stage, we claimed another patch of grass big enough for our blankets and with Earth Mother’s timing the music began.
Bathroom privacy was still a major issue. If either of us had to pee we’d have to leave this place, pull up roots, change families again or one of us would most likely be lost. This seemed to be the consensus of all our neighbors, and there was some talk of setting up a small latrine. Others had done it. One guy had a walking stick which he volunteered for its construction. He said it was too bad we didn’t have a piece of cloth for a flag. But I had my starched white pillowcase. Even as early at Saturday afternoon, this pillow case may have been the only remaining white thing on the whole hill. I did my best to keep it so because it was our beacon, our return to the fold and bathroom travel became possible.
Oreos, a flag and our new family. I felt ready to party. Leona handed me a barrel shaped pill… and time became skewed.. Time never made sense on acid.
Country Joe’s famous F-I-S-H cheer was a call to unity.
“Gimme an F.”
A half a million yelled “F”.
“Gimme a U.” Everyone in eyesight was standing as a half a million yelled “U”. When he reached “K” and asked, “What’s that spell?” we exploded like a rocket fueled by angst! Every person on that hill was against the war. We’d lost friends and family in the war. We were angry and the entire hill screamed the most obscene word we knew at the top of our lungs. Imagine the unified release of a half a million voices yelling the fucking F-word in defiant glee. Maybe that was the moment, when Joe’s anti-war song defined us as a nation, a Woodstock Nation that understood the senselessness of it all. “…and it’s one two three. What are we fighting for? Don’t ask me. I don’t give a damn. Next stop is Vietnam”. And the Woodstock Angel swirled magic colored sparkles to the sky… our banner… set to music. All our voices took flight.
Nobody in our area had heard of this band called Santana. The Latin influence, so original, so alive. It’s hard for me to imagine now, the world before Santana.
Some extremely stoned people slipped and fell. Our whole family was splashed and marbled with mud. We accepted their mud as inevitable, gave them a cookie and some water from our jug. They stayed and became like brothers. It was our reality and our trip. Then the Great Mother cradled us.
Bands were delayed. Freaks huddled under rain-soaked covers. I’d never been so filthy in my life and the announcer pleaded with us, “Pleeeaase don’t swim in the drinking water.”
I turned to Leona and said, “There’s swimming?”
Though it pains me to admit this, I was not among the coolest girls at Woodstock. I stripped to my underpants and bra (yes It may have been the only bra there) and yes, I swam in the drinking water. I swam till I was wrinkly. I wished for some soap then someone helped me customize my cool jeans into ragged shorts which I also rinsed in the drinking water.
Then I saw the most beautiful boy in all of Woodstock, a one in half-a-million hunk. He was muscular and tan with long golden ringlets, and deep heaven-blue eyes as if the Woodstock Angel had sent him just to wrap me in his arms and kiss me. We made love in his sky colored tent. I remember it more clearly than my first time, maybe I remember it better than any time. It was like seeing multi-colored fractals while making love with every force between heaven and hell, simultaneously and they all were cool with it. Then we collapsed into the pond re-bathed.
I floated up the path, over waves of people toward that tiny patch of white, where I could rest my head and savor the secret of my gift. Canned Heat sang, “I’m goin’, I’m going where the water tastes like wine.” I’d been loved, christened and I drank Heat’s words like a new communion.
We danced threw Mountain and the Dead. Creedence, and when the music stopped the night crowd sang on, “Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q.” indefinitely. This was the best possible rainy day ever.
To be cont…
Next Thursday: Sunday at Woodstock