Today, August 1, 2008, is the 66th birthday of Jerry Garcia, or would have been.
Tomorrow, August 2, 2008 is the 66th birthday of Chester Leo Helms, Jr., or would have been.
But they both made early departures, Garcia at age 53 and Chet at age 62. Both were well-scarred and well-seasoned, and, because of the lives they had lived, both deaths were a bit shocking, but not especially surprising, precisely because both were well-scarred and well-seasoned. Both were pioneering veterans who helped define a place and a time. And both were originals, true to their time and their place. But, most of all, both were true to themselves.
In the August 21, 1995 issue of Time magazine, writer Richard Corliss ended his lengthy obituary/eulogy of Garcia by saying: “…[Garcia] died —long after he might have, long before he should have.”
And, you know, ditto for Chet.
Too soon. Way too soon.
Who knows what might have been?