Archive for the ‘book preview’ category

Updates

November 28, 2011

        This post is to update folks on my art projects. As my last post indicated, my brain cancer diary in now on Amazon. We also hope to publish it in a booklet form soon. You can look it up in Amazon under Kindle Store and “Brain Cancer Boogie.”

“Grandpa’s Mandolin Book,” a coloring book for children of all ages, is now at the prototype stage. It still has some flaws and will go through at least one more revision before it goes to press. A half-dozen prototypes are in the hands of musicians, both professional and amateur, for advice. I hope it will be available after the first of the year, no later than late winter. More details are in my blog archives.

I am almost finished with my final edit of “Acquisition Syndrome.” After that it goes back to my editor Dorrie for her final touches and then on to my agent and the publisher. We are still on track for a spring release. I always liked old Bones Robertson. In this story he shows more than ever how to be decent person but not be trampled on. The lessons were so powerful I felt compelled to pass them on before I’m out of here. (There is no evidence my time is near, so don’t worry yet) In addition there is plenty of bluegrass subplot here, this time with more banjo in the mix. (Can’t have bluegrass without banjo huh? (( except for the “Manzanita” LP perhaps) 

“The Kid and Dr. B” A mandolin duet CD with Darin Aldridge that also features story-telling and a bit of doctor advice. I anticipate early spring on this one.

In January 2012 I plan to start a mandolin instruction book with Wayne Benson called “Practical Theory for Mandolin.” It is based on Wayne’s lesson plans. ((I have taken from him once a month since late 2007)  I plan to devote most of 2012 to this project. This book is designed for the amateur mandolinist who wants to get involved in jam sessions, be in regional bands and play for small festivals, church socials, fundraisers, and private parties. A working subtitle might be “How to play Mandolin if you thought you could only play the Radio.” So if you want to sound like Wayne, my pal Darin Aldridge, “Cuz” Alan Bibey, tone master Adam Steffy, rocking Sam Bush, Darren Nicolson of Balsam Range, red-hot melody man Emory Lester, Mike Marshall or Chris Thile….well, this book alone will not do it; be prepared to start young and spend six hours a day.

        Instead this book is designed for folks who do something else for a living but still want to play the best they can. I am of the opinion that if you start the mandolin as an adult, have a job, kids, bills, etc that it is unrealistic to for most of us (me included) to expect to play at a top shelf professional level, but my hope is this book will allow you to approximate that level of play after you learn some fundamental improvisational skills out of Wayne’s play book. He is going to proof every stage of this project because it is based on his knowledge and lesson plans. 

        After 2012? Who knows? I might be a little less productive on the blog for the rest of this year. My wife loves Christmas, (I call her “The Christmas Queen”)  the kids and grandchild will be in, and I love the holidays with all of them. I will be in touch though so don’t give up on me.

Dr. B

Acquisition Syndrome: The Great Charles Thombley

June 16, 2011

        Charles Yhombley is a negotiator and the best one there is. He is from Atlanta. His people go back to before the Civil War there. They made their fortune in real estate futures right after Sherman came  through, and never looked back. Mr Thombley’s hobby is the financial revitalization and re-organization of small churches in need.

         Most of Mr. Thombley’s work is highly confidential. By his request and by necesssity to continue his mission, it was imperative the truth of his work be shown in fiction and not told in fact. This will be done in “Acquisition Syndrome.”

        I am making progress, and my condition at the moment renders me on summer vacation until August. Don’t worry; I limit my work to two hours per day and devote the rest of the day to healing; however, writing is also part of my therapy.

        Mr. Thombley ony had one ultimatum in our physician bluegrass fiction writer contract. He would only allow me to fictionalize his part of the story if I, Tommy Bibey, promised he would have a full head of hair in the novel. So in “Acquisition Syndrome” if you see a man who has code name of Del and has a hair like Del McCoury, you will know it is Mr. Thombley.

        One of my goals with my effort to write was to bring new people to our music. The Great Mr. Thombley is a sophisticated, highly intelligent, savvy Altlanta businessman. I have all respect for him. After he got to know me he became a fan and he is now true bluegrass. I guess I’m doing something right, huh?

Dr. B

1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ and “Cool Whip, Indie!”

December 9, 2009

        Every time I hear the Del McCoury song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ I think of my old pal Indie.  He loved motorcycles.  His favorite was a ’47 Indian Chief former Nevada Highway Patrol bike that he and his buddy Blinky restored one winter.

        When Indie was a young doc there was a little French foreign exchange student in town who loved that bike, and was enthralled with Indie too.  She’d hop on the back, grab Indie by the waist, and sing some French song as they buzzed down the back roads.  She wasn’t much of a student.  The whole time she was here she only learned two American phrases.  “Motorcycle ride” was one and “Cool whip, Indie!” was the other. 

        Mrs. Jenkins was not amused.  Indie might have gotten into the Jim Beam too much at times, and he could fiddle all night long, but he was harmless.  Other than what happened in ‘The Mandolin Case’ that girl was the only time Indie ever got in any real trouble. 

        I hate it happened, but in a way you could see how it might.  Even though I was just a boy at the time, you couldn’t miss the fact this was some kinda good-looking woman.  That girl wore a sweater in a quite memorable way; she had better curves than a slope shoulder guitar.  No man in town ever forgot her, and I’m sure Mrs. Jenkins didn’t either.

        ‘The Mandolin Case’ was quite an ordeal, and put a hurting on Indie, but I always thought that one mistake with the French foreign exchange student weighed much heavier on him.  When he got old he told me it was the one thing he wished he could change in his life.  Mrs. Jenkins forgave him, and Indie finally made peace with it before he went to his maker, but it was hard on him.

        I forgave him too.  None of us are perfect, but at least Indie was truly sorry, and he was faithful to Mrs. Jenkins the rest of the way.  All we can do is our best, and after that girl I always thought Indie did that. 

Dr. B

Book Cover Contest ‘The Mandolin Case’

December 7, 2009

        As the book draws closer, we have begun to think about a cover for ‘The Mandolin Case.’  I have ideas, and my agent and editor also have theirs.  I’m certain the publisher will have yet another vision in mind.  Before all that gets too far, I thought it would be fun to get your input, too. 

        I guess it isn’t fair to call it a contest per se,  ’cause I have been around editors and agents enough to know it is unlikely anyone will take a concept and apply it without some revision.  Still, if someone goes up with an idea that dominates the theme for the cover I’ll credit that on the jacket.  If there is more than one we will acknowledge that, too.

        Of all you who’ve read my blog a while are pretty far inside my head, but I thought it might be a good idea to stimulate your imagination.  To do so, I need to let you in on the major symbols in the story.  First off, the cover design obviously has to involve mandolins.  The instrument is credited in the title because the mandolin stands for the truth.  Also, my editor wanted to include some roses, as they are important in the story.

        There are other symbols with significant meaning, too.  The river is a major one.  While the novel is not strictly a religious book, that symbolism runs through it.  The river is quite redemptive.  Indie loved the river. 

        Native American themes are prominent too.  Like Marty Stuart and Tony Williamson, I have a deep respect for our Native Americans.  I never thought they were done right, and part of the symbolism speaks to those injustices.  Besides, Indie was part Choctaw, and he was the best friend I ever had in the doctor world.  And of course there was the Navajo, and…well…. uh, …I guess you’ll have to read the book for that part.

        You remember the mandolin case I had Marty Stuart sign?  It now has the signatures not only of Marty Stuart, but my old pal and mandolin young’un Darin Aldridge, my mandolin brother Wayne Benson, and Rebecca Lovell.  I don’t know Rebecca near as well as Darin and Wayne, but I’m as proud of her as if she was my mandolin granddaughter; the young woman is already a very fine professional.

        Folks like Alan Bibey (Cuz), Tony Williamson, and Mike Marshall know about the book, and I’m sure they will sign the case next time I see them.  I plan to secure the signatures of as many great players as I can.  There are some, like Norman Blake, who I have heard play but never met, and I hope to get them to sign it someday. That way as I travel around I can tell my readers why our music is so important; it is about our people who play it. 

        Anyway, I’ve saved one spot on the ‘Mandolin Case’ case where my friends know not to sign.  Whatever we come up for a book cover with will grace the headstock area as a decal right above the IBMA logo.   Wherever I go it will not only represent the book, but all my friends who have contributed in some way. 

        After all, not only is Ranger Dog is still in the mix, but there’s a beauty operator named after a Missouri bluegrass girl, a lawyer who goes by Ted Davidson, and a number of other characters who were inspired by my electronic friends. I hope the publisher will see fit to leave ‘em all in, ’cause they are all important.  Someday I’m gonna see all of y’all in my book store travels and thank you in person.

        So let me know what you think.  The greatest pleasure of this journey has been all the friends I have made, so I might as well continue to involve you in each step of the process. 

        If by chance the publisher decided to use a cover design exactly as submitted, my agent said he would insist on compensation in line with industry standards.  If I believe any submission was influential in the thought process but not used exactly as submitted, I’ll at least be sure the artist is credited.

        I know this:  I appreciate all of you.  It takes a community to raise a doctor and my art friends in the bluegrass and writer worlds deserve a lot of credit.  After all, my wife couldn’t be expected to do it all alone, and this overgrown boy was quite a project.  

Dr. B

The Imagination Will Set You Free

September 26, 2009

        I had a patient who was confined to home her entire adult life.  Before the Internet she had a good life and many friends from all over the County, but after the Internet came in, she extended her connections around the world.  She could describe Australia better than many people who had been there.

       She was an early book editor for me and even inspired the character Mason Marley.  I would send her chapters by e-mail and she would read them and send back suggestions.  She once told me the installments reminded her of the eager anticipation of the “Saturday Evening Post’ as a child.  

         She especially loved to help embellish Mason Marley.  “Oh, have her smoke a cigar here, Bibey.” 

        “C’mon Mason, you don’t smoke.”

        “I can’t in real life ’cause of my lungs but I can in fiction.” 

        She wrote a book herself and had a lot of good advice on agents, editors, and lawyers that I follow to this day.  My only regret is the process is so long.  I would have given anything to be able to hand her a signed copy.

          I used to ask her about confidentiality.  “You know, as your doc, I’m supposed to protect your privacy.  I worry a little about this.  I’m afraid people will figure out who you are, or least who inspired the character.”

        “Oh Bibey, you are such a silly boy.  I hope you tell the whole world.”

        When I finally get around to that, I’m gonna tell you about her book too. She was one of the most special human beings I’ve ever known.  She knew the imagination had no limits to unlock a life of grace and dignity.  She showed me how every time I visited her. 

         Before she died I had not only permission but her encouragement to tell her story.  Mason understood with literature we can have a bit of immortality, and she cheered me on towards the finish line at every visit.   When I get there, much of the credit is to her.  

Dr. B

Glory Hallelujah Gonna Lay my Burdens Down

September 4, 2009

          I turned in my last deep revision of ‘The Mandolin Case’ to my editor, Jenny Lynn.  This was the same night I was getting shed of a kidney stone.  “Glory glory Hallelujah, I’ve laid my burdens down.”

         I was humbled by the fact that Ms. Sharon, a young lady all the way over in Australia, understood ‘The Mandolin Case’ was more than just a book or a project, but like a kidney stone was something I had to get out of me.  Women are so intuitive.  She picked up on it right away.  It’s like the English Professor’s wife said, “when a man writes like that there is a reason.”

        I have been blessed all my life, but I have seen a lot of wrong.  Somehow I’ve avoided trouble all these years.  There were rough spots along the way, though.  To me medicine is all about praying you can help a few sick folks.  I am sad to report to you to some it is about power and money and greed, and the story is not always pretty. 

        ‘The Mandolin Case’ is about some Docs I knew who did their best to live right.  It wasn’t easy.  They became involved in a very ugly and complicated human confrontation.  The docs were able to reach the far shore and lay their burdens down.   They were able to do so and not compromise their dignity or integrity.  They were careful to protect the privacy of people involved, even the guilty ones who did not deserve that discretion or earn the privilege to be treated with respect.  I have to give Indie most of the credit for how they pulled it off.

        The night I finished my revision, as I struggled to pass this stone, I had peace.  I knew I was gonna get my job done.  I laid my burdens down.  Illness always reminds us we are mortal.  I told my family, my agent, and my editor if anything were to happen to me press on and get it out there, because it has to be told.

        “The Mandolin Case’ is more than a book.  It is a saga about how to face adversity, learn from it, and come out better on the other side.  And in ‘The Mandolin Case,’ except for the few who were wicked beyond human hope, everyone involved came out with a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.  I still pray for the ones who didn’t get it, but I ain’t the Judge.

         We meet with a publisher in late September.  I hope they take it on because it will see a wider audience for their efforts.  But if they don’t I have no fear.  I’ll self publish and “have mandolin will travel” will see you out there in 2010.  My story has to be told.  My dream is that humans will put aside their differences and always seek the truth.  I hope my book and my music will be a small part of that.  I’m not a Pollyanna.  I know it isn’t gonna happen in my lifetime, but it ain’t gonna stop me from trying.  After all, a man has to have his dreams, and mine is that in eternity I’ll get some small little corner where I can lay my burdens down forever.

Dr. B

My Editor is a Genius

August 19, 2009

        Jenny Lynn has now outlined the first major edit of  ‘The Mandolin Case.’  I like this lady.  She took her time and asked a lot of questions.  We began to work on a few minor things while she got her thoughts together.  Now we are ready to dig in.  I have much work to do but she is convinced my draft will be ready for consideration in the meetings we have scheduled this fall.  After that, she plans one more start to finish tune-up, then it should be ready for 2010.

       Jenny is a genius.  She has been in and out of Harvey Country several times, and has been able to get some things done even Dr. Bibey could not do.

        What I’m getting ready to tell you is what we call ‘graveyard talk’ around here.  You will know things few outside of Harvey County know.  It is only fitting.  If you have read this far you deserve a leg up on the general public.  When you read ‘The Mandolin Case’ you will understand some things the naive reader will have to guess about.

        Somehow Jenny Lynn figured out how to get people to talk.  Maybe it was that fiddle.  I sent her some old tapes of Indie’s and she did some serious woodshedding.  Anything that reminds people of Indie tends to open them up a bit.  She negotiated at length with a major player in ‘The Mandolin Case,’ and has now secured his permission.  His name is Bones.

        Bones no longer lives in Harvey County but his heart is still here.  I knew him as kid.  He will not allow me to disclose his current location.  I was aware of his role in the case, but he would never agree to let me discuss it until Jenny talked him into it.  In a way I was willing to take the hit for him;  I thought his part of the story needed to be told.   After Jenny talked it over with him he decided that wouldn’t be fair and gave in.

       You may wonder about all this secrecy.  There are many reasons.  The most important is patient privacy.  It is imperative,  but there are are other reasons too.  With ‘The Mandolin Case’ I’m gonna take you deep into a world of money and power, a world few folks know about, and one the players would rather I not discuss.  I can promise you the money crowd would prefer I not talk.  Therefore the story either has to be encrypted or it can’t be told.

          As I have said before, there is a Lit Professor quote I love.  “For it to be good fiction, it need not necessarily have happened but it must be true.”  To that end, I have been careful not tell tell any facts, but still show the truth.

        After Jenny Lynn discussed it with Bones he was O.K. with it, but he still won’t let me give him up.   And I always keep my promises.    His whereabouts, his career plans, and his deepest secrets are safe with me.

Dr. B

Excerpt from a Mississippi Book Store Gig/Act Naturally

June 24, 2009

        As you know, I am in the final edit stage of ‘The Mandolin Case.’  I expect to spend about six months on this.  We should beat our January 1, 2010 deadline by a few weeks, then I’m gonna spend Christmas with my family.

        After that it is on to publication.  We have several publishers who have it under consideration.  If by chance they all turn it down, we have a couple of excellent self-publish options, so no fear, there will be a book.  Y’all know me well enough now to know this next line is just a joke, but the Publishers don’t.  I like to keep the business kind of folks guessing, but I always tell them, “Y’all, either a Publisher is gonna make me famous or I’m gonna make a Publisher famous.  It doesn’t matter to me which way we do it.”

         Of course Milwaukee and beer pulled that off, but I don’t think Tommy Bibey is as big a deal as beer.  Still, I have to admit I have fun pulling their leg.

         Once it is out my wife and I plan several tours.  My life as a Doc goes on, but starting in 2011, my contract will allow for some extra time off to accomodate all this.  My employer understands I am 80% Doc and 20% artist, and that I function best that way.  They are fine with that mix, so I’m gonna get there. 

          Once I began to plan, I realized the world was a big place.  We still have our map on the wall with all the little push pin destinations.  Not long ago my agent took a look at it, and said I better start to get organized, so here we go.

        My tour plan revolves around people.  If there aren’t any people to see I don’t have any reason to go anywhere.  So today, I am going to start with the geographic location of Mississippi.  Over the next several posts tell you about other places we plan to go.  I’m gonna do them in the rough order I got to know the people who inspired me to travel to their neck of the woods.

         I do want to ask for a favor.  As I cover areas around the country, I would like for you to get out a map.  Take a piece of string and lay it out from Raleigh to the area of interest on that day’s post.  And it doesn’t have to be as the crow flies either.  I plan to zig-zag a lot, and have interest in all people who love books, music, and the arts in general.  If you know of a book store or music store where my tour would be fun let me know.  I have a special interest in the independents, as I am rather independent myself.   

        Today I start with Mississippi.  I met Smitty on a random pairing at a mountain golf course several years ago.  When we realized we both played the mandolin, we became instant friends.  The folks we were paired with thought we’d known each other for years.  In many ways it felt like we had.  By the end of the round we were planning a round of golf, a picking session, and a visit to his mom’s for fried chicken in a black skillet.  It all sounded good to me. 

        We stayed in touch.  He is a Mississippi school principal, and I became pen pals with some of his students.  I still correspond with some of them to this day.  (I call them my rangatang young’uns after an old story.)

        Today’s post is how I envision a Mississippi book store gig.  With minor variations I am sure you can see how it has application in other geographic locales.

‘Mississippi Mandolin Book Store Gig’

          “Folks, I’m so proud today to be here at Reed’s Book Store in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Anywhere that is the home of Elvis, Jerry Clower, Marty Stuart, John Grisham and William Faulkner is good by me.  You folks are famous.”

         (applause goes here )

        “I’m  gonna kick this off with ‘When You’re Smiling,’  not that y’all get any choice on that one.  It’s the theme song for me and my Marfar.  As all y’all know here in the South, if mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.’  She keeps me smiling, so I gotta return the favor.”

         Then I’ll go into my version of the tune.  I gotta brag here.  It is pretty good for a Doctor.  The single line melody is from Darin Aldridge and I learned the chord melody second part from Wayne Benson.  If you can’t learn some mandolin from those two you’re in trouble.  They are the best. 

        I especially like the middle of the second half.  It sounds just like something you’d hear when you open up a music box.  I can picture my daughter as the ballerina complete with a pink Karate outfit and the matching black belt.  Or if that image doesn’t imprint, how ’bout my boy circling ’round and ’round on a Harley, the muffler emitting the characteristic potato, potato, potato, exhaust sound.

        (light applause again.)  I do a few bars of ‘Miss the Mississippi and You,’ an old Jimmie Rogers tune. 

        ‘Y’all got any questions about the book?”

         A hand goes up.  “Yes.  Did Indie really keep white lightning in a skeleton’s skull in his office?”

         “No ma’am.  It was Jim Beam.  He only drank white lightning at the Bomb Shelter.”

        “Oh my.”

         “Oh don’t worry.  He didn’t drink when he was on call.  And his vision was 20/20 right till the day he died.  He had some faults like we all do, but I loved him anyway.  That reminds me of a tune.  How ’bout the Cherokee Shuffle?”

        “Why that one, Dr. B?”

        “Oh, it was Indie’s theme song.  He had a shuffle type gate ’cause of his Parkinson’s disease, and he dealt with it head on.  He said we had to play the Shuffle at every gig.”  I render it the best of my ability.  No one could play it like Indie.

       The applause was a little bit heavier.  (Everyone loved Indie.) 

        “Y’all hold it down some now.  That little lady over there is a librarian, and I don’t want to upset her.  I want to get invited back for the second book.  We better settle down.”  (My librarian at home always said she wanted me to have fun, just not too much)

        “Hm.  Time for our commercial break, y’all.  Folks, this portion of our program is brought to you from the folks at Reed’s fine clothing store, right here in downtown Tupelo.  You walk in there and that man can size you up for a suit from fifty paces without so much as pulling a tape measure out of his pocket.  You can’t miss ‘em.  They’re right across the street from Tupelo hardware where Elvis’s  mama bought him his first guitar.  And while you are here, go over and visit Elvis’s home-place.  Music history there for sure. “

        I spot Smitty in the audience.  “Hey Smitty, you got me a golf game lined up?  I might need a couple shots a side; getting some age on me you know.”

        “Straight up, Doc.”

        I smile.  I never could fool the principal.  “Speaking of Elvis, is he gonna drop by?  I need me a singer.”

        About then the door chimes.  In walk Elvis and Conway.  “Lord have mercy, y’all.  We have us a gig.  Did y’all bring that girl singer?  Lawd, she was good.”

        “She’ll be over directly, Doc.”

        Someone asks a question.  “Doc, tell me me more about Mason Marley.”

        “Oh she was a good’un.  Hold on just a minute, though.  It ain’t every day an old bluegrass picker gets to play one with Elvis and Conway.  Boys, what y’all wanna sing……”

        Well, this gives you some idea of my book store gig format.  I hope it will be O.K. ’cause I don’t know any way to be but myself.  As as Buck Owens would say, “all I gotta do is act naturally.”  If fact it is all I can do. 

        I hope all of y’all will start to fill in the blanks as I work my way through this series.  If you know of places I need to stop please let me know.  I’ve worked up a good version of ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and the ‘Alabama Jubilee,’ and have songs in mind for the other states along the way.  I keep all this in my ‘tour’ folder on my blog, so I have some rough organizational scheme in mind.  

        But keep in mind, I am not a business guy.  This tour is all about people, music, books and fun.  It is about dreams.  Sure, I hope to sell some books, but if I come home with ten more dollars than had when I left and made a bunch of new friends I’ll consider it an overwhelming sucess.  I have to admit it is a mentality that leaves the business folks scratching their heads in bewilderment, but what can I do?  I have to be myself, and I am no businessman in doctoring or books either one.

         If y’all want me to stop at your favorite book store or music store I hope you’ll drop me a line.  (Many of you already have, and I thank you so much.)  Like I said, I ain’t going anywhere unless there are people I want to see.  All I can do is act naturally and hope to find kindred spirits along the way.

Dr. B

Mandolin Players Anonymous

June 7, 2009

        Today I dedicate my post to a new group of FaceBook friends.  They are called ‘Mandolin Players Anonymous.’  If I have ever run into a group of folks I felt a more immediate kinship with I do not recall it.

        You see, mandolin players are the same everywhere you go.  We all know the same tunes, we tell the same jokes, and we play instruments that are eerily similar in appearance.  We are thicker than thieves. 

        For many of us, we didn’t find the mandolin, it found us.  Bill Monroe himself was that way; a small, cross-eyed, self-conscious boy who became a giant.  He picked up the mandolin because his older brothers already claimed the fiddle and the guitar.  Bluegrass history is so fortunate for the quirk that it worked out that way; we’d a never been the same otherwise.

        For me, the mandolin came to me because my band needed one.  I played guitar and banjo, but we couldn’t find a mandolin player, so I took it up.  I fell in love with it.  My wife loved it.  And even though I am old anything that impresses your girl is still a good thing.

        I am primarily a bluegrass mandolinist, and I have been fortunate to study under two great players, Darin Aldridge and Wayne Benson.  They would be the first to tell you the mandolin is not confined to bluegrass, and I have heard them play many different styles.  The thing is great for the blues, country, gospel, classical, Celtic, old time, orchestra, pop, and even even rock ‘n roll.  Because it is tuned in fifths it serves as ultra- logical ongoing music theory lesson.  More important, it is just plain cool.  If I were advising a young man as to how to meet girls, I would say to learn to play the mandolin.  You can’t go wrong with with it. 

        As a Doc I have been very fortunate.  With God’s help I’ve even saved a few lives.  My patients are my friends, and I love ‘em almost as much as family.  Many of them are musicians.  But mark my words, my mandolin has brought more friends my way than my stethoscope ever dreamed of.

         When my book comes out, the mandolin players are gonna have an inside track to the truth.  For example, if a man was trying to sell you a Loar and it didn’t have a dovetail neck joint every mandolin player in the world would know right away the man was a fraud.  I expect certain passages in the book are so carefully encoded the mandolin players will have to interpret for their friends and family.    

        Check out the picture for Mandolin Players Anonymous on FaceBook.  Maybe I’m old, a mandolin freak, or just happily married, but I would rather have that Loar of Bill Monroe’s grace my study than an SI swimsuit girl, and I ain’t kidding.

        So, to all my new mandolin pals, y’all watch for my book, ‘The Mandolin Case.’  Mandolins players of the world may have been the underdogs ’till now, but for one time, at least in my book in the year of 2010, our little instrument is gonna go down in the history book as heroic, even to an outside world that knows so precious little about it at this time.  And once it is written down, no one can ever take it away. 

        It’s like my friend Wayne Benson says, “We are bluegrass, and we aren’t going away.”  See you out on the bluegrass road, and y’all keep on picking.

Dr. B

A Swimming Pool of Lemonade

March 31, 2009

        I went to visit Indie last night.  He is near the end.  I hate to see him that way, but as always he is unconcerned.

       “Bibey old boy, I saw a lot of hard times.  I appreciate you seeing me through.”

       “You always stuck by me too man.”

        “You know, we saw a lot of tragedy, but I had a blessed life.  If there was ever a Doc who played more music and had more fun than me, I’m happy for ‘em.”

        “I don’t think there was, Indie.  That’s why I had to write the book.  I wanted to show people how you dealt with adversity.”

        “Yeah well I didn’t drink that much.”

         “I didn’t mean that.”

         Indie motioned towards Barney the skeleton. “Check his brain, Bibey.”

        I opened the skull cap.  “No Jim Beam?”

       “Ran out.  Just wanted to prove to you I could get by without him here at the end.  How bout pouring me up an Arnold Palmer?”

       “Half sweet tea, half lemonade?”

        “Right.”

         I poured him a cup and he sipped a bit.  “Damn, Bibey.  Almost as good a friend as Jimmy Beam.”

        “Just like you Indie.  You were dealt some bad luck at time. You always did make lemons out of lemonade.”

       “Hell Bibey.  I’m doing the backstroke in a swimming pool of it.”

         “You’re right.  You’re the best at I ever saw.  Hey just in case, though, I’m gonna restock Barney.”

        “Son, you always were my favorite.  I’ll never forget you.”

        “I ain’t ever gonna forget you either Indie.  Matter of fact, I’m gonna be sure no one does.”

        He laughed.  “You keep splashing in the lemonade swimming pool after I’m gone, boy.”

       “Yes sir.”

        Somehow I went to work today.  It’s what Indie woulda done.

        Dr. B


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