Miracle Mama tours with Dead and Company band

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Courtesy of Karen Graycheck
Special Education Teaching Assistant Karen Graycheck poses with her Deadhead apparael and light-up shoes. Graycheck has been following “Dead and Company” for more than 35 years and has attended more than 100 shows. “I love the band so much because it’s my happy place,” Graycheck said. “The lyrics in the music are all about happy thoughts; it’s a whole different culture.”

Waving her hands in the air like she just don’t care, Special Education Teaching Assistant Karen Graycheck dances to the rhythm of her favorite band, “Dead and Company.”

Working an additional 20 hours a week at Applebee’s, Graycheck saves her money to tour with Dead and Company.

“I honestly love working at Applebee’s because I love waitressing and being around people,” Graycheck said. “My coworkers like to tease me because I work there for tour money, but I’m proud of it.”

Traveling can be expensive, but Graycheck has found ways to cut costs.

“I’ve learned that the biggest costs are hotels and food, so I usually don’t stay in hotels. Instead, I bring a tent and sleeping bag so I can sleep wherever I need to,  but if I’m staying on the East Coast then I stay in a hostel. Sometimes I even meet people along the way and stay with them,” Graycheck said. “I also don’t eat much on tour. I usually survive off of ramen noodles and military meals.”

Graycheck likes to help out fellow fans while traveling as she has found many Deadheads also do not have a lot of money.

“Outside of the concerts people will hold up their finger, which means they need a miracle. This means they need a ticket for the concert,” Graycheck said. “Someone had given me a ticket in the past and I wanted to return the favor. I started giving away tickets at a few shows and it gave me such a positive feeling that I decided to start doing it at every single show. That’s why my nickname is Miracle Mama.”

Traveling through 15 states and having gone to more than 100 concerts, Graycheck’s favorite concert was in Monterey, Calif.

“It was at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, which is where Jimi Hendrix played and burned his guitar. I felt that electricity standing there,” Graycheck said. “It felt like deja vu. I had a feeling I had been there before in another time or place. It really was like heaven on Earth.”

Graycheck plans to travel with them for as long as she can; she has been following “Dead and Company” for 35 years.

“I love the band so much because it’s my happy place,” Graycheck said. “The lyrics in the music are all about happy thoughts; it’s a whole different culture.”

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