The County Fair

        Neuse River plays the County Fair every year.  There is a little cabin near the front gate, and we sit on the porch and pick for hours at a time.  It think we are what you call atmosphere.

        It’s a good gig- you get paid for something you enjoy, and also get all the vinegar fries and ham biscuits you can eat.  I never check my cholesterol for a month afterwards.

        All of us have been on the bluegrass scene for a long time, and know a wide variety of tunes, but you have to play some standards.  In fact, one year the manager put a clause in our contract to play “That Good Old Mountain Dew” at the top of every hour.  The Warbler grew weary of the tune, so he started calling for it in wild  keys to see if he could stump the band.  You ain’t played bluegrass mandolin until you have improvised “Mountain Dew” in E flat, I tell you.

        For the most part it is an attentive crowd, but beware of the competition.  Several times a day, a loud bugle call that sounds like the start of the Kentucky Derby is the signal that the pig races are going to start.

        The great Jethro Burns said your act should never follow small children or dancing animals- they are just too hard to compete with.  He should have included pig races, too.  Last year, when they blew that bugle, every single human being at our show left to go watch the pig races, right down to my own mama.

           She was the last one to leave, but she, like everyone else, split.  I’m sure she hated to go, and she did apologize.  As she said, “But Tommy, it’s the Pig Races.”  So much for my career as a bluegrass musician- I better hold onto my day job.

 Dr. B

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