FROM Mt. Vernon Place in Baltimore to...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

FROM Mt. Vernon Place in Baltimore to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Deadheads gathered Wednesday night to mourn the death of Jerry Garcia, the "captain" and lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead.

And if you go,

no one may follow,

That path is for

Your steps alone . .

Rooted in the Sixties, the rock group had long ago transcended generational lines. Those who mourn Jerry Garcia include fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, probably even some grandchildren.

More than a band, the Grateful Dead became a metaphor -- for shared idealism, for good karma, for music to help you get through the rest of your life.

"The Dead are the closest thing to a religion that I have," said a woman at the San Francisco vigil. A man told a radio reporter that he considered Deadheads his family and when he needed to attend the concerts that became huge Deadhead gatherings, he would simply call in sick or request personal time off. After all, he said, these were family reunions.

I will get by . . .

I will survive . . .

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, a Democrat, called a press conference to reminisce about his friendship with Garcia and other members of the band. But just as Grateful Dead fans span the generations -- Leahy noted that his 31-year-old son is also a devotee, the band's appeal also crosses ideological lines.

In Massachusetts, Gov. William Weld, a Republican, also called a press conference to reminisce. Wearing a black ribbon, he told reporters, "I listened to the Dead for a couple hours last night."

No doubt many a Grateful Dead fan -- die-hard Deadhead or not -- has done the same thing since the news broke. And not a few have done so while also indulging in a bowl of Cherry Garcia ice cream -- a light-hearted (but calorie-laden) commercial tribute to the incomparable "Captain Trip."

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