I made it back from Hookahville safely, and have a few stories to tell, but for now, I'd like to pay a little respect to a cherished member of the Grateful Dead family who was recently lost to a battle with lung cancer.
I would have posted this sooner, but lack of free time at work has kept me from the blog world for several days now.
On May 17, 2006, Lawrence Shurtliff, better known as Ram Rod, passed away. He was one of the best known stage hands the Dead ever had the pleasure to travel with. He was well known throughout the Dead family for his devotion and love for music and the band.
I ran into this somewhere:"
It began for the Dead when they needed a truck driver. Early in December 1967, the grapevine brought to 710 Ashbury St. a manwho introduced himself as Larry and said, I hear you're looking for agood man.
Truer words were never spoken.His name was Lawrence Shurtliff. He'd been born in Montana and raisedin eastern Oregon, where one of his best friends had an older brother who had fallen in with low company Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. In 1966 he became a Prankster, and one fine day when the Pranksters needed a leader to help do some work, he jokingly announced that he was Ramon Rodriguez Rodriguez, famous Mexican Guide.
As Ram Rod, he became the heart and soul of the touringGrateful Dead for the next 28 years. He was a man of consummatedignity, honor, and good judgment. In the earliest days, as the entirestage threatened to melt, he was the guy the band depended on to keep things together. And later, if there was an argument, he was the mediator who reminded them of the right values. He was the balance wheel, the gyroscope that kept the wildest circus in human history upright and moving forward. At the end, even in pain, he was the soul of graciousness.
Ram Rod died, May 17, 2006, of lung cancer.
He leaves behind his family, his wife Frances, his sonRudson, and his son by an earlier marriage, Strider, and all the greater Grateful Dead family. Few men were ever more beloved by those who knew him.
May the four winds blow him safely home.
I pray he is at Peace............