We call it Brookstock.  It happens every year in my hometown.

Don started it after our class president died in an airplane crash.  We were just past our thirtieth high school reunion.  Our own mortality slapped us hard in the face.  Hard!

We realized some of us weren’t going to grow old.

The boys started a garage band back in high school.  They were fourteen.  A couple were still playing for money.   Someone made a call and asked a question.  The answer was “Yes.”

Don, Virgil and Brian’s music numbs the pain.  They still play GLORIA, MUSTANG SALLY and CHERRY PIE as good now as they did in the sixties.

For a couple of hours we forget the roads we travel.

The first time was in Debbie’s back yard.  We outgrew the  back yard party in a heartbeat.

We moved over to Beverly’s place.  Then the old National Guard Armory.  Someone named it Brookstock and it got bigger every year.

And, every year, we talked about another someone we lost.

Now we go to the FEMA building and two hundred or so are expected Saturday night.

They added Thursday night for the songwriters to sing their own stuff.  Friday night for the kids in school.  The youngsters who are just learning to lean against microphones, bend guitar strings and sing about lost love or new found freedoms.

A full weekend as the music grows.

Thank you Don.

Just like the sign says “Brookstock, a weekend of music in Brookhaven.”

Last night.

Three men and a woman walked into the place, carrying their guitars in cases.  It’s an old brick building, downtown.

Once upon a time, a younger couple tried to make it a ‘place to go.’  It didn’t work.  The last time I was there, I enjoyed listening to my best friend from high school do what he did best.  He played music for a living.

The musicians made ready, checked their sounds, adjusted something here or there.   They came to sing from their hearts for two hours. They wanted to give us some songs they wrote, no covers, no big hits, just a musician making his own music.

The crowd talked at first.  A lot of handshakes and hugs.   Most of us were past fifty, a lot lived through sixty several years ago.  Then they started to listen.

I looked at us and my mind starts to whirl.  We’ve all plowed a lot of ground.  I know some who ran into rocks and boulders along the way.  A couple I’ve known since before I could remember.  One guy I’ve seen twice since high school graduation.  Three school teachers, maybe more.  More retirees than I remember.

Oh yeah, I forgot about our ages.

We are lucky.  And, we are blessed.  What started out as a reminder of who we were is now a beacon, bringing us back home every year.  Not a homecoming, but a place to go.

Brookstock.  A part of who we are.  Thanks again Don Jacobs.


Please feel free to share.  I welcome your comments and thoughts.  Contact Mike Windham at  You can follow my blog at


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