Since my diagnosis, Sammy Shelor has been kind enough to loan me the theme song, ‘Long Gone,” which is our prayer for all who deal with similar conditions. While it still presents many difficulties, we hope to eventually subtitle it “Gone At Last.” I appreciate your prayers and concerns as we try to make the best out of this we can.
Archive for the ‘Thought of the Day’ category
This weekend is the annual spring Darin and Brooke Aldridge Bluegrass festival, so you know where I’ll be. In additional to the Aldridges, the Grascals will be there friday, and The Harris Brothers on Saturday, and many other fine bands are booked. Their website has all the details: www.darinandbrookealdridge.com.
There is also some open mic time, so you never know will show up. Fine friends, music, food and pretty spring days. Hope to see you there.
Earl Scruggs passed away around 10:00 AM Wednesday March 28, 2012. Along the way he all but re-invented how to play the five string banjo, and inspired folks all over the world. As Wayne Benson once said, “When you go to a bluegrass festival, every banjo note you hear can be traced back to Earl. Indeed his way to play the five-string banjo will forever be known as “Scruggs style picking.”
We were fortunate to get to play with Earl several times. I recall a fine lead singer with us at one session who was so awe-struck at first couldn’t remember the words to “Little Cabin Home on the Hill” when Earl called for it, even though I had heard Ray sing it hundreds of times. (He recovered and did a fine job.)
We were mesmerized. Earl’s playing was downright magical. He had that effect on everyone. When John Hartford first heard him on the car radio he almost ran off the road. Hartford knew right then how he intended to spend the rest of his life.
Horace told us of the day when Earl discovered how to add in the third finger on his roll (the song was Reuben). We played a lot of music with Horace over the years. He was a nice man, but did insist on two things: 1. You had to keep good time. 2. He strongly encouraged we play a Flatt and Scruggs number in every set. We had no problem going along with that at all. Horace taught us all a lot of bluegrass music. The Scruggs boys came by that timing honestly. Horace and Earl used to play back-to-back, then walk to the front of the house in opposite directions. We they met at the other end of the house if they weren’t in perfect time together, they would repeat the process until they got it right. Both ended up with perfect timing.
Earl lived a long and very productive life, and changed the world of music forever. We will all miss him. He will never be forgotten, as his music legacy is so vast. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Monday night March 26th at 7:00 PM I have the privilege to play with Al and Karen Dunkleman for the 9th annual Abuse Prevention Council fundraiser at Cleveland Community College. Darin Aldridge will be with us and this year jazz saxophonist Clyde Cumberlander will join in too.
For more information, or directions to the campus, call 704-669-6000 or visit clevelandcommunitycollege.edu.
Tis a good cause; hope y’all can come out.
A new bluegrass family is in town and they found their way into the inner circle quick. If you serve up great ribs, million dollar pie and gallons of sweet tea you make bluegrass friends in friends in Harvey County in a hurry. Leonard sang the lead, Moose Dooley picked the five, “Cuz” was the dobro man, Phipsy played bass and Jim flat-picked the guitar. I wobbled around on the mandolin and sang baritone but no one complained. It was great to be out picking. Our social life might not be fancy, but I wouldn’t trade places with the richest Wall Street cat around.
Y’all keep the music going.
It was a sad weekend in that it marked the passing of my med school friend, professor, and mentor, Dr. Peter Temple. Still, there was hope. His receiving of friends, as one might expect, was a big party that showed how many people he influenced. Not only does he leave behind a wonderful nuclear family, but many folks like me whose lives were enriched by him. Dr. Temple showed me how to be a doc but still enjoy life; he perfected the art.
The celebration of his life was friends and food and drink and music. Kids ran through the yard, splashed in a puddle, played with some new puppies, and climbed the cedar trees around the house. In addition to ham sandwiches and fruit and cheese there was sushi and edamame and chocolate cake and of course bluegrass on the front porch. Folks there included guys like George on the banjo, who played with Peter and Junior and Greek in the Tar River Boys back when I was in med school. We played standards out of Temple’s set list; numbers like “I Wonder How the old Folks are at Home, and “I’m Using my Bible For a Road Map.” My daughter had to pull up the lyrics for it on her cell phone, but we honored his request that we do “You Go To Your Church and I’ll Go To Mine,” one that I had promised him years ago I would play for him whenever the time came.
I was sad to see him pass, but glad he has no more suffering. One thing is certain; there will never be another one like him.
I once read that no one had ever been on their death-bed and wished they’d eaten less ice cream. I don’t I am at risk any time soon but when my time comes to go I don’t have to worry. My wife has seen to it that I have plenty of ice cream on hand. As long as my weight, blood sugar, cholesterol etc hold steady, I don’t see any harm in it, and when I’m gone I plan to have no regrets. You can’t have too much music or ice cream in life.
Tis almost here. I hear spring peepers tonight and banjo frogs too. A balmy breeze wisps by my ears; not a smidge of chill to it. As Russell Moore used to sing in “I’m Leaving Detroit,” ‘I’m going where those southern breezes blow.’ (Me, I get to stay here.) Little springs of green have begun to sprout and the birds wake me up in the mornings. I believe they are bluegrass birds; they seem to sing in three-part harmony.
I went out this evening to hit some shag balls. It doesn’t even resemble golf, but it is still fun to be out in the sun and the breeze. It reminds me of when my boy was young and would go out with me at dusk to hit a few. He was a quick study and was good at the game in a few seasons. Like music it’s best to start young. He doesn’t remember not being able to play. Hm. Maybe I’ll be struck with youthful exuberance and somehow learn the game again. Tonight’s wild shot dispersion reminded me of the days of youth when I took up the game. (around 12 or 13 years old.) Hey, I can still be a kid for a while!
Before the sun sets I sit on the back porch with my wife, have a Coke float, and pick on the banjo. (Just loud enough for my own amusement but not enough volume to bother the neighbors). I’m such a simple man; simple things made me perfectly happy and content. As my daughter always said, “Daddy, you’re so simple you’re complicated to people.”
Y’all have a blessed spring. It is almost here. Say a prayer for our recently departed here at home who didn’t get the luxury of one more season.
We just got back from BGFC; the traditional N.C. festival season kick-off for the last seventeen years. Spring is gonna get here. It was all music and food and fellowship. Best of all was our new grand-baby; all smiles and chuckles. Great stuff.
It was more activity than I am used to these days, so I’m gonna rest for a few days, but I’ll be back in touch. thank goodness for the bluegrass community. It is one big extended family. The prayers, music, and well wishes did my heart a lot of good.