Lead, South Dakota
Oct. 25, 1979
After a breakfast of campfire eggs and bacon, Carin and I headed back
to Michigan. By late afternoon we pulled into the campground at the
foot of the Big Horn Mountains. It was located at the entrance to
Tensleep Canyon, the same canyon where I had an “out of body experience”
on a previous bicycle trip.
The next day, after a long day’s drive, we pulled into Lead, South Dakota.
While there, I renewed my acquaintance with—the Barrios Family.
Sitting in Javier’s living room brought back lots of memories, maybe a few too
many. However, drinking beer with Vicky and Javier, while listening to Leon
Russell sing Hank William’s Good Night Irene on the stereo, made it
all worthwhile. I knew I was about to say goodbye to Carin (maybe
forever), but I also knew that I had said goodbye to Carole Sue from
on top of these same Black Hills–many times over. Life had a way of
repeating itself, whether you wanted it to or not, but sitting with old
friends while listening to great music got you through it! Drinking
my beer, I knew full well that when Leon was through singing, it would
be the Grateful Dead’s turn. Javier would see to that!
Carin’s parents just left my place and took their daughter with them.
The emotional good-byes were short and sweet. In the next few days she
will board a plane enroot to Finhorn, a colony of people tending a
“magic garden” somewhere in Scotland. Carin and I never made promises
to each other. We lived together for almost a year and
half. We loved and respected one another. Many times in the past we joked about
getting married. I think it was back in July that I tried to get
serious about it, but her response was a silent, icy stare. I dropped
the idea after that.
She was 22, a free spirit, and ready for independence. I had just
turned 31 and was four years into the not so sensational work of
self-development. Carin graduated “summa cum laud” while I, after
twelve years, had just received my degree. Her life was just getting
started, while mine meant little more than a scratch on the wall of
another day. Our “getting together” would have, most likely, violated
some kind of natural law. I guess that’s why we chose not to talk
about it. I knew there would be no Carole Sue type break down or
collapse for me. If I had learned anything from my experience with
C.S., it was how not to let something like that happen again.
Just before Carin and I went on our vacation, I was sitting in on yet
another class taught by Professor Gill. In the past, I had sat in on
full semester classes taught by Dr. Gill in– The Philosophy Of
Literature, Myth, and Spinoza. I had also spent truncated time in the
classes he taught concerning Value Theory, Plato, Zen and Symbolic
Logic, and Freedom. In all but the last couple classes, I challenged
him at every opportunity. I needed to know what he knew. What I
finally concluded was that John Gill was not an instrument conveying
knowledge, but rather, as a teacher exuding great sensitivity, i.e., he was
a deeply emotional, educational, experience. After I got back from my
vacation with Carin, I found another Professor teaching his Freedom
class. John Gill died of cancer on October 23, 1979. He was 69 years old.