Thanksgiving at the Bomb Shelter

        Last night was the annual Thanksgiving jam session at the Bomb Shelter, and the boys were out in force.  My daughter was in from college, so they were on their best behavior.  As she says, when ladies are present the group straightens up a bit- they tend to hold their pinky right when turning up a beer and such as that.  I am certain many folks would question the wisdom of taking a young lady to such an establishment, but she is a straight “A” kid, and I don’t think it hurt her raising any.

        Some of our pickers are more famous than you might think.  For example, Cajun Mark, an affable chain smoker, once wrote a tune that was an early theme song for the Ladies Pro Rodeo circuit.  He did a fine rendition of the “Barbecue Blues” and of course someone called for “Mama’s Got the Know How.” 

        The Moose was away on business, so Darrell took over on the banjo, and I played the mandolin, except for covering the bass while the doghouse man went for a COHIBA cigar smoke break.

        I hadn’t seen Hudley Regan in a while, but he was off tour with his gospel band, and did much of the lead singing and the flat pick guitar.  Hud sings one called “The Boar Hawg Twist,” a crazy saga about being a hog farmer. 

       It reminded me of a favorite old patient who used to invite me to go hunt wild pigs with him.  The fellow had a terrible end-stage ischemic cardiomyopathy, (bluegrass translation: his heart had done gone bad from hardening of the arteries and it was too far gone to operate) so I declined- I was afraid he’d drop over eight miles from the blacktop and I wasn’t stout enough to drag him out of the woods- but I sorta wish I had gone once before he died.  I’ll bet it was quite an adventure.

        Someone requested “Your Love is Like a Flower.” It is an old Flatt and Scruggs number, a standard everyone has done for years, and we accommodated.  We used to have a cassette tape of the tune in the newborn nursery at the hospital, and I always played it when I was doing circumcisions, but I got to worrying it might turn those little fellows against our music, so I quit when we got a new administrator who was a touch more formal.

       That is entirely another topic, but I know one Doc who believed that circumcisions were a cultural phenomenon, and not a medical procedure.  He was so resolute in his conviction that he refused to accept payment, except for a bottle of wine.  He was a bluegrass guy, too.

         Wild Bill, so named for his appearance akin to a wild animal (the boys once finagled him onto the cover of an unsuspecting “Pet Care” magazine) was there in his usual seat by the wood-stove.  “BlackJack” was played at warp speed, and at the end of the tune Bill took a last sip off his shine, wiped his scraggly ‘stache with his shirt sleeve, and then  hollered for us to “Play something peppy!”  I think the slow ones make him cry.  More on Bill down the road.

        It was a good jam session.  I didn’t tell anyone that folks were reading about them- I was afraid it would make them self conscious- but I’m sure if they knew they would say to have a fine Thanksgiving, and would invite you to come next week. 

                                             -Dr. B

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