Hippie's Search Here Man.....

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This got messy....

Aloha friends and family...It's been a while..My writing got me into a little trouble recently..I was trying to express some frustration from myself and many others and it almost got me committed...Dig this...

Well, I guess it’s time. I can no longer afford to live. I thought I did what I was supposed to do, as a reasonably good citizen of this country. I rebelled some, protested some, took some drugs, drank some, and fought some. I graduated high school, did some college, served in the Army and honorably discharged, worked hard, got married, bought a home, and saved some money for retirement. Now, I can no longer afford to live. It will be slow and painful and sad and lonely. I’m not afraid, I’m tired. Nobody seems to understand or care enough.

I’m disabled and I knew, unless things got better, it would come to this. I had two heart attacks by the time I was fifty years old. I survived them physically but it was the beginning of the end. My beautiful wife will be sad and angry and confused and alone. I wish it could be different.

I won’t be leaving much to the kids and grandkids because I had to sell it all to pay for care and premiums and co-pays and medication. Medicare helped for a while. I’m not doing this to give up. I just feel helpless and defeated. I tried to get help but help seemed to always be just out of reach. It’s a bit ironic. Through the years I paid my dues into Social Security and all of the other deductions required to work hard in the free world. I’m getting some of it back because of my disability but that disqualifies me for other services because I’m told that my income, my Social Security disability income, is too high. Really? Looks like big brother, government, bureaucracy, red tape, and insurance have won this battle. I never expected such a fight.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, the ultimate signature on my death warrant, is what’s called the Medicare donut hole, the gap, the coverage break. Some genius decided that Medicare recipients, disabled or not, should pay full price for their already overpriced medications. I have no more to sell, to pay more than I already pay, for the drugs “they” tell me I need. It’s too expensive to live now. If I dip into my IRA, there are more taxes to pay, my income will “go up” so I’ll disqualify myself for more services, and my lovely wife will have nothing. My wish is to be cremated but now I have to rethink that because my VA benefits won’t pay for that, and I can’t burden my wife to deal with that.

Well, I guess that’s it, the decision has been made for me. It’s going to be slow and painful and sad and lonely, and nobody seems to understand or care enough.


I sent this letter to several local and national newspaper publishers to print it wherever they deemed appropriate. My hope was to create some noise about what many people are experiencing while trying to delicately balance their healthcare and their everyday lives. That was my hope. What I got was an early morning visit from two police officers, two medics, and a representative from the Coroner’s office. Obviously they were called by one of the letter recipients describing my words of frustration and concern as a suicide note. They almost took me away until I printed a copy to show them that never once did I mention killing myself.

This short story was made up of facts from many different people that are scared and frustrated about their own personal healthcare issues. In my story, the “I” means “We”. Where I wrote “It’s going to be slow and painful and sad and lonely”, well, that’s the horrible reality of living a life without the proper medications to reduce pain or extend life. Many have to choose, every month, whether to pay their mortgage or pay for their meds. One drug, just one popular drug that treats depression and painful neuropathy, costs $296.00 for a one month supply and there is no generic brand. Now that’s depressing! Everywhere I go, the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, the gas station, the bank, everywhere Middle America gathers, I hear awful stories like the one I wrote. Why is it I can hear, loud and clear, the reasonable needs and fearful cries of our citizens, and the ones that are paid to listen and act don’t or won’t?

When things like sports and business and government are practiced long enough, the players learn how to take advantage of shortcuts and half-truths and advancement techniques and job protection for personal gain. Our system is broken. There are over 310 million people in these United States and WE have failed to demand and hold accountable those that represent us. Remind them, without leniency, that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Make noise or accept the outcome.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Special Connection With Love, Not Blood...

Recently, I was graciously reminded by my stepson that he and my step-daughter, my step-kids, weren't mentioned in my last blog titled I am "That Old Man"...I mentioned my wife and my grand kids only! Shame shame on me! Clint just mentioning that made me feel wonderful because he noticed...Dig this though...I noticed too! I can't speak for other step-dads, but I struggle with the label "step"...I purposely wrote the first sentence of this blog to use as a visual aid...Check it out man...Read the first sentence again...Then, dig this...  Recently, I was graciously reminded by my son that he and my daughter, my kids, weren't mentioned in my last blog titled I am "That Old Man"...I feel much more comfortable writing and saying and thinking this way...

My struggle is this...I can't even imagine loving and cherishing my wife's children, anymore than I already do, even if they were biologically my son and daughter...I know their biological dad, and I like the man...There's this piece of me that fears I'm taking something that doesn't belong to me, or, that the kids (they're actually fine adults with kids of their own!) sometime feel that I'm always trying to take cuts in front of their biological dad...Dang man! I've never used the word "biological" so much in my whole life! I can't say "real" dad because I too feel like a "real" dad...I can't say "their" dad because I too feel like "their" dad...

What an amazing dilemma to be in man! I am a fortunate man to have such a wonderful family...You can preface the word "dad" with anything you want, as long as I'm in there somewhere...So, Clint and Carissa, you ARE my kids and I'm proud to tell anyone that...


Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am "That old man"....

I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...I'm 53 years old, I'm married to the most amazing woman in the world, and I have 3 lovely grandchildren..You see? That's exactly what I'm talking about man! I just used the word "lovely" in a sentence describing my grandchildren...I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...My grand kids call me Pepa...We live over 2000 miles away from our grand kids...When we're with them, which is NEVER long enough, we play and laugh and I'll pretend to be a monster until I have to sit down and rest...I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...When we're home and far away from our family, we miss everyone terribly! Just the other day, my wife and I decided to treat ourselves to a hot dog...A hot dog is a "treat" for me now because of my health...There was a young family of tourist there by the hot dog stand...The dad had his hands full carrying a baby and shopping bags filled with souvenir t-shirts and grass skirts, and my favorite, coconut bra's, while mom was trying hard to keep her 3 year old son (I'm guessing) out of a small pool of water that accumulated from a recent rain storm...I, rather spontaneously, said something silly to the young boy like "Ahhhh, you havin' fun in the water young man?"...The boy moved quickly to mom and grabbed her leg as if he saw that same monster that was chasing my grand kids...The mom and dad both looked at me with caution in their eyes and offered polite half smiles...I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...

When I'm at home working on a project or just relaxing a bit, I'll listen to my favorite music...There's nothing better than listening to a live version of Voodoo Child, by the late great Jimi Hendrix, while separating my meds and putting them in a little plastic container labeled with each day of the week and AM and PM...I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...I drive the most far out 1968 VW bus...There is no power steering or power brakes or air conditioning or power windows, so it's getting a little tougher to drive...I live across the street from one of the grooviest beaches on the island of Maui, so of course we have young, beautiful (never as beautiful as my wife!), scantly clad women everywhere you look...In the day, it wasn't uncommon to get sexy glances and flirty eyes from chics while cruising around...The looks I get now from the chics are as if they are concerned that I'm still driving at all, and the closest I get now to flirty eyes are comments I overhear like "Awwww isn't that cute" or "I wonder if he's lost?"...I blame it on my looks, not my age! I'm always told that I look older than I am...I have long white hair and some wrinkles and those weird looking red marks when I bump into things and I'm fat...Or maybe, I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...

I remember when I was younger and making dumb-ass comments about the old people, the old timers, the geezers...At the time, in my eyes and mind, I completely bought in to what Jack Weinberger said at one of the many Berkeley protests in the 60's...He said "Never trust anyone over 30"...That simple phrase became very popular with my piers and most of the anti-establishment crowd including Bob Dylan, Abbie Hoffman, and The Beatles...30 was old man! That is 33 years younger than I am now...I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...

This is all part of life man...Dig this, I'm realizing I'm in a funky sort of transition, and it's not a bad thing man...This doesn't change anything...I'm not going to act different or look different or walk different or speak different...This is only one of many far out transitions...Someday all of us will transition from life to death...This is all part of the deal man...When that time comes for me, I want to say or write or sign or type that I really dug the ride man...Checkin' out with Hendrix playing in the background while I'm sortin' my meds in a little container with the days of the week on it, doesn't sound so bad! I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...

The perception of young or old, is just that, a perception...My mother, whom I adore, will be 78 years old next month...I don't see her as an old lady when I visit, I see her as a miracle woman! She not only endured my rebellious, sometimes disrespectful youth, she endured the diverse characters and attitudes and expenses and sibling rivalries of five others, my equally grateful brothers and sisters...It's all perception man...I used to see 30 year old cats and wonder to myself "What will I be doing when I'm that old?"...Now I see 30 year old cats and wonder to myself "Ahhhhh to be 30 again, sooooo young...What would I do differently?" I can't really think of much I'd do differently, but I'm pretty sure my mother could come up with a pretty solid list of things!

I'm proud to be a Pepa and a husband and a brother and a uncle and a son, but dig this, I am "That old man"...I'm not sure when it happened and I never saw it coming...but I'm proud of that too!


Monday, January 3, 2011


Aloha to all my freaks and friends...I hope that everyone had a groovy holiday and a far out New Year man...What a year it was! The energy surrounding us now, and certainly in 2010, was and is very powerful...Some are more sensitive than others to feel the happiness, sadness, and fear within the people we love and interact with, and within those we might not know, but see the happiness in their glow and the sadness in their eyes and the fear in their actions...Personally speaking, I've become more sensitive to the emotions of those around me, strangers or not...

Back in the day, it was easier to approach people and just rap about anything, good or bad...Nobody was really surprised when a guy like me, with long hair, barefoot, and smelling a bit hempish, just walked up to say "hello"...Now, unfortunately, I see many more eyes looking down instead of into the eyes of those we pass by, and sit with, and work with...My lovely wife, Maureen, laughs at me at times because I challenge myself to make others smile and to return my simple greeting, like aloha. We walk a lot around here so it's very common to pass by many people...It's far out to see a group of people walking by with their heads down and silent, until I get their attention with a smile and an aloha...Suddenly and instantly, in most cases, the entire group of people lift their heads to see me, this old hippie, still with long (gray) hair and barefoot, smiling and greeting them one by one...The groovy part is when I watch as they go by, they're all smiling and chatting instead of silent with no expressions at all...They may be smiling and chatting about me, but it doesn't matter man...For that moment in their lives, they remembered what a groovy feeling you get from a simple smile while looking directly into the eyes of another...I believe, with all of my being, if each one of you joined me by offering aloha right in the eyes of those you pass, and your friends and family joined you, and on and on, we WILL change the world...For me, 2011 is the year to change lives, change sad to happy, change fear to results, and change selfishness to giving...Please join me!

Dig this, a friend of mine in Pennsylvania, who happens to be a brilliant graphic artist (Doug Hershey at Scheffey), designed a logo for me that captures nothing but aloha and happiness...Thus, The Maui Hippie was born...I'll be putting this logo on apparel and accessories, flags, incense and jewelry packaging, and a lot of other groovy things...A good portion of the proceeds from sales will go to charities...This is an example of changing the way we think, and changing the world one hippie at a time...This will not only keep me busy with something I know and enjoy, it helps many people at many different levels...We say hāʻawi manawaleʻa which means give gladly...
I am The Maui Hippie, and proud of it man! We, the hippies, are now in our 50's and 60's with the same passion for peace and harmony we had in the groovy days...Some of us might look a little different but we're smarter and we have learned many many lessons over the years...I am making a move to re-establish, re-invent, re-educate, and recruit the young and ignorant, and the once young and forgetful to know and remember what it feels like to give, and to work hard together for a planet free of war, free of starvation, free of greed, free of possessions, and free of fear... I see people, many young, wearing shirts and bathing suits with peace signs proudly displayed, and earrings and medallions with "Love" and/or peace signs decorating their fashionable Bohemian look...Do they know what peace looks like? Do any of us? Do they realize that harmony is meant for all living things, not just their favorite band? Can they give up, and live without, some of the luxuries they've become accustom to and share that savings with others? Can any of us? Most of you have heard the song "Imagine" by John Lennon...Listen to it again, and pay attention...Better yet, here are the lyrics to read and absorb:

Imagine there's no Heaven 
It's easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people 
Living for today 

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people 
Sharing all the world 

You may say that I'm a dreamer 
But I'm not the only one 
I hope someday you'll join us 
And the world will live as one 

Whew, I get exhausted when I try to save the world man! I need help...Thanks for taking the time and reading this blog...Actually, this blog just took off on it's own...I had a completely different direction in mind when I started...I think my heart and soul needed to ask anyone that will listen to think really hard about what's important and how our decisions effect others...In the year 2010, my daughter had a beautiful baby boy with the name of Daniel, and my other grandkids, Jacob and Haylie are happy and healthy...A couple of friends lost their lives, yet their now peaceful energy is still with me...I dealt with some unpleasant family issues, yet I don't love any of them any less...This is life...Some is sad and hurtful but most is happy and delightful...We humans have the means and ability to choose love over hate, and peace over war, and debating over shooting...Dang man! Songs keep jumping into my head that relate to what I'm trying to write...This small verse from the song "Whats Going On" by the late great Marvin Gaye, has a large message...Dig this...Father, father, we don't need to escalate...You see, war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate...Thanks again for reading...

I'll keep everyone posted on The Maui Hippie venture...Thanks again for reading! As always, I would love some feedback, good or not so good...