An Old Hippie

That is the title of the song by the Bellamy Brothers from back in the 80s, I think. I’m really not sure and I really don’t care enough look it up. Anyway, an old hippie is what I an. I guess I’d been one for quite some time since in the song he is only 35 help a lot older than the days. Some of the stuff they talk about in the song I never did: hard drugs and going to Vietnam for my senior trip. I went to Washington instead and protested the war in Vietnam.

Yes, I do get into country music, at least some of it. I particularly like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Chris Christopherson, and Kate Williams Senior as well as my all time favorite, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I also like acid rock, good ol’ 1950 rock, the British invasion, especially Procol Harum and Pink Floyd. I also like jazz, classical, even some Broadway show tunes. Like most hippies, I like all kinds of music and have quite a long time.

One thing about being an old hippie that does bother me is that there are a lot of people out there that are misinformed as to what hippies really were. I blame the media for that, and especially the people who didn’t like the things the hippies were into, like rock music. These people, and I am including a whole lot of musician’s, became pseudo-hippies because they thought it would help them make money. One of the things about being a hippie is that you’re not particularly materialistic. You realize that there are a lot of things in the world way more important than how much money you have, what car you drive, how well you dress, how big and fancy of a house you have. In fact, there were times in my younger days as a hippie where I didn’t even have a house to live in, or apartment. I crashed with friends or I slept on the back porch of an abandoned apartment building, waking up with a silver .45 staring me in the face in a police badge. That was 1968 when I first got to Chicago. That was almost 50 years ago and I still remember that as it were yesterday.

Besides being economic Communists, hippies are also total unswerving peaceniks. Not just one war, but all war. Hippies believe that violence solves and accomplishes nothing. So please don’t tell me that Charles Manson was a hippie. Charles Manson was a spark from the hippie as I am from I have been a peacenik since I was in elementary school. I got into a fight in grade school, I think, where I had someone who later became a friend down on the tarmac and was trying to be beat his head in to the black top. Fortunately, several teachers pulled me off before I seriously for the poor kid. I had totally lost control. That has happened to me a couple times since in the last 60 years, something I’m not very proud of/ I try very hard to keep myself under control but after all, like the rest of you I am only human and all humans have their weaknesses, as much as we wish we didn’t. Mine is anger.

Hippies had long hair and beards. In the 60s, they were the only ones in America who really had long hair and beards except for some bikers. Nowadays beards are very much in fashion with most people and a lot of people who are definitely not hippies sport long hair. Back for much of the last 30 years I kept my hair fairly short, just because I did not approve of the people who were wearing theirs long like I used to wear mine. In my 20s, my hair came down almost to the middle of my back. I looked like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, if you know who are talking about. The cover of the Aqualung album specifically. In case you’re not aware, that is Ian Anderson on the cup. Recently, the last year or so I have been letting my hair grow back and it is now touching my shoulders. If I can survive what is left of an Arkansas summer, I will let it grow at least until next summer. I usually cut it very short in the summer because I cannot tolerate the heat all that well. Never have and never will.

So why do I live in Arkansas? Because I am an old hippie and living in Arkansas allows me to live like a hippie more than say living in Chicago or any other big city anymore. We do occasionally grow a garden. We have raised pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and a white rabbit (thought we no longer have any of these). We also have multiple dogs and a cat. At one time we had quite a few cats because we had a female that got herself pregnant a lot was under the house. In a heavily rural area. It is really hard to find homes for, so we can and they lived under the house. The case fun with them. Dogs enjoy chasing them around and everybody seem to get along pretty well. I used to drive an old pickup truck or an old car. I don’t drive at all anymore. And to tell you the truth, I’m happy that I don’t drive anymore. At least I’m not contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer. One of these days humanity is going to figure out that we really are destroying our atmosphere and our planet and if we don’t change our habits, we are going to regret it. Maybe not this generation, but a future one will pay the price. The sooner we develop renewable and eco-friendly fuels for our cars, factories, furnaces, etc., the better off our future will be.

I don’t -really- hate anybody. I haven’t done that in so long I can’t remember the last person I -really- hated. In fact, you can say I love everybody to some degree or another. Obviously, some more than others. That is the hippie way. The trouble is that the media and the advertisers whatever, co-opted the idea of love and turned it into sex and sex. Sex is part of and love is part of sex, but is not just sex. There is a lot more to it. And sex without love is like, to use an old analogy, kissing your sister or your brother. If you’re going to have sex with someone, you damn well better feel some level of love for. Otherwise the sex is hollow and empty and totally meaty. Which brings me to my final point.

John Lennon said it best: “Love is all you need. All you need is love.” It is love that makes the world go round and it makes the universe go round. It is love that makes us human. If you are human, you understand. And it doesn’t hurt if you’re an old hippie, too!

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