Tuesday, July 1, 2014

[Update] BMT - the wind and footsteps in the sand

He proudly wore the Grumpy Old Man pin in the shape of a hog on his hat, alongside a Steal Your Face, a white bunny pin, and others.

Transporting people was his job at Brooklyn Metropolitan Transport, and when he left to see the world outside of the fixed rail route, the abbreviation BMT remained his nickname for the rest of his life.

He continued to transport people to places new and ancient, to the most far flung countries on earth.
As one of the early group of people commonly known as the Hog Farmers, BMT was in the middle of the anti-war movement, the new music, civil rights struggles.
The Hog Farmers worked Woodstock, the most iconic music festival the world has ever seen.
You can catch a glimpse of BMT alongside Saint Misbehaving Wavy Gravy and the other travelers on the epic road trip of colorful buses going through Europe all the way into the Himalayas.

Brooklyn Metropolitan Transport most certainly has no memory of BMT, but, hey, you might find an old man somewhere in the Himalayas lighting up at the mention of BMT, 'oh, Brooklyn Metropolitan Transport'.

With a smile, BMT stated his profession as Independent Travel Consultant. He told great stories to us youngsters about the counterculture world when in the mood, and one of our favorites was how some activists had spirited Timothy Leary out of a hotel in Asia seconds before the DEA rushed in to nab the former Harvard man.

To most folks who were there, BMT may be familiar as the guy in the white bunny suit at shows of the band that is linked with the hog farmers in many ways: The Grateful Dead. Wearing a bunny costume with dignity is not an easy feat. Try it yourself one day.

Old age brought health problems, including a translucent oxygen tube. He was part of a group running a death pool over a decade ago. They'd have bets on who would die first. In his good natured way, he pocketed winnings on more than one occasion, and promptly spent the cash on celebrating the life lost.

Having moved into an assisted living facility, his health improved so much that management told him they would have to kick him out. Management eventually saw the irony and let him stay as a model tenant.

He is known to anonymously have helped others, with a little bit of money here, a pair of shoes there. If he was satisfied with the outcome of his effort, he might eventually come forward as the source of the gift.

BMT was one of the people who contributed to "the hippies" having become part of the fabric of society, which this episode illustrates:
Had you been in New York City's Lower Manhattan in the 2000s, over 40 years after the Summer of Love, you could have seen the surprise making both native New Yorkers and tourists pause, smile, and wave on the sidewalks as old school buses full of tie-dyed youngsters - and some old folks - rolled into town.
A bus with girls on the roof. holding on to a railing, did a lap around the Empire State Building - and the police car behind them let them do their thing.

BMT's optimism and good nature will be missed.

A poem was read in his honor at the Kate Wolf Memorial Festival 2014.

(c) 2014 K-Landnews. Free for non-commercial use.

Rest in Peace.

[Editor's Update] Fixed some text flow issues, clarified attributions, added some details, changed title to reflect a poem received by BMT some years back.

No comments:

Post a Comment