The Grateful Dead wrote a song in 1993 called The Days Between. The song was written about a relationship that Jerry Garcia had with a woman when they were in their teens. They lost touch for 30 years or so, and then they rekindled their relationship in the early 1990s.
The song is about the time that passed in between their first relationship and their second. The tone of the song, and the lyrics, are wistful. There is an air of “if only” about the song.
Fans of the Grateful Dead have taken the song and attached another meaning to it. Jerry Garcia was born on August 1st1942, and he died on August 9th, 1995. Some Deadheads note the time between August 1stand August 9th as “The Days Between”. If you listen to The Grateful Dead Channel the first week of August, they have special programming called….well, you know what they call it.
My mother was born on September 26, 1935, and she died on October 2, 2008. I have my own version of The Days Between. I observe the time between September 26th-October 2nd as The Days Between.
I had the opportunity to take my younger daughter for a college visit yesterday to my alma mater. (Well, one of my alma maters. I attended and graduated from multiple universities). I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.
It was a bittersweet tour for me. It was sweet because my daughter is a great woman, and she has wonderful things ahead of her. She is going to pick a college or university, and that college or university will be lucky to have her. I think the world of her, and they will too.
But the tour was kind of sad, too. There is an expression “youth is wasted on the young”. That was true for me. When I went to Penn, I wasn’t ready to be there, and I wasted an Ivy League education. I hate to say “I wasted an Ivy League education”, but I did. I was 17 according to the calendar, but I was 12 in my maturity level. Penn had beer and women and all kinds of other temptations that seemed much more important than Chemistry 101 or Biology 202. I became distracted by those temptations as soon as I set foot on campus.
I managed to survive those temptations. I received a second career chance in the form of pharmacy school, and we have done ok since then. I survived wasting an Ivy League education. But I still regret the experience. One of my friends asked me “can you forgive yourself?” I guess I should. It seems everyone else forgave me for it a long time ago.
I’ll finish this post with some appropriate lyrics:
“There were days
And there were days
When all we ever wanted
Was to learn and love and grow
Once we grew into our shoes
We told them where to go…..
There were days
And there were days between…..”