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If you're like me, you've gathered, collected, bought, stolen, and were given numerous concert T-shirts over the years.

And, if you're like me, the shirts you got when you were a young, fit, 20-year-old no longer easily fit over your middle-aged belly.

Let's put your old tour T-shirts to good use, better use than just sitting in some drawer!

Follow me below the orangeness and I'll tell you what I have in mind....

We're making a quilt for my ol' buddy Brian. Unfortunately, Bri was diagnosed about a year ago with esophageal cancer. Several months ago he found that the cancer had spread to his lungs.

None of us needs to be a physician to know what that means. Esophageal cancer has a very low long-term prospect of survival, especially because it spreads so easily.

Today, Brian's wife, Sherri, sent me a note asking if I had any old Deadhead T-shirts, as she was going to turn them into a healing quilt for Brian.

And that's where you come in.

I want your old Dead T-shirts. Or, rather, Sherri wants them.

Any old tour shirts would be fine, but we're specifically looking for Grateful Dead shirts.

Here's my oldest and most favorite Grateful Dead tee, one of the ones I'll be sending up to them:

Dead Tshirt 1970s

First, I'm amazed that I EVER wore a small T-shirt! Man, I wore this one out. It's thin, it's full of holes, it's faded, and the design is coming off in places. It's everything a band T-shirt should ever be!

I got this one in the late 1970s, probably at some record store, and the shirt commemorates the Dead's 1978 shows in Egypt. Alas, I was not at the Egypt show; I just have the shirt.

As I said, while any tour shirts would help in Brian's quilt, he's a big Deadhead so Grateful Dead shirts are the most desired.

Why the Dead, though?

I guess it's because of the best thing I ever did for Brian. See, we've known each other since high school in 1973. Yeah, 40 years ago, can you believe it? We first met in a Military History class in school, but we became good friends later when we were put on the same team when we took a debate class one semester.

After high school graduation, we all went our ways, as people do. But, a few years later when I had entered the University of Missouri and needed a roommate, Brian was the only guy I even considered. When I called him in South Dakota to propose this, he dropped everything and moved to Missouri as soon as he could.

Meanwhile, I had been turned onto the Grateful Dead, so that's pretty much all Brian heard when he moved in with me. And in the winter of 1978, I was able to get Brian to his first Grateful Dead show, the outstanding performance of 12/16/78 in Nashville, Tennessee.

That single show changed his life, I have no doubt. We all do many things, good and not-so-good, over the course of our lives, but I truly believe that getting Brian to his first Dead show is right at the top of the greatest things I ever did.

So, let's do something fun, and do something good, and let's surprise the fuck outta Brian. Let's cover him with enough Dead T-shirts to keep him warm and happy and amazed for as long as he still graces our presence.

And no, he and his wife do NOT know I'm making this request. It'll be a surprise, and that's what I want. I want them to be stunned when they go to their mailbox and find it full of T-shirts sent in my total strangers. And I don't want the mailbox to be merely full, I want it to be stuffed. Dozens of shirts, hundreds of shirts, a thousand shirts!

Hey, it's just an old T-shirt that you're not wearing anymore, right?

Please send any shirts you'd care to donate to:

Sherri H.
PO Box 2946
Palmer, Alaska 99645

If you include a note with your shirts, tell 'em that Steve sent ya!

Thanks, everybody; let's show Brian some of the generosity that Kossacks are known for!

Originally posted to Senor Unoball on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by DK Quilt Guild, Shakedown Street: For Deadheads on Kos, and Monday Night Cancer Club.

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