Why I’m Thankful for My People and the Music
I’ve never been a professional musician but I’m sure thankful for my people and the music.
When I was courting my wife we were into the Beatles. I bought a cheap guitar and sang bad versions of their tunes to her. Bless her heart; she married me anyway. I married her ’cause I thought she would give me beautiful children (the beauty part wasn’t gonna come from me I assure you) and the plan worked. She gave me a Gibson mandolin too, and encouraged me to play and not work all the time. What is it the Ten Commandments say? (paraphrased) “Honor thy father and mother and cherish your wife,” or something like that.
My daughter went with me to every show I ever played. My rule was if it wasn’t fitting for a little girl I didn’t sign up for the gig. She still saw some questionable venues. Nature trumped nurture though, and she grew up pretty and sweet is spite of her raising. (Warning guys: She she has a black belt in karate too.)
As a young doc, I worked way too hard. I was exhausted half the time. When my son got a driver’s permit I handed him the car keys, tossed my mandolin in the back door, sat down in the passenger seat, opened up a newspaper, and promptly fell asleep. He drove me everywhere we went. We’d wind up at some mountain bluegrass festival by magic, and I was rested enough to play.
I met Darin Aldridge along the way. He treated me like a second father. Due to his influence, I’ve won the award for best mandolin player on the medical staff at Harvey Memorial more times than Rob Ickes has snared the IBMA Dobro player of the year. (eleven) After all that, Darin sent me to finishing school for some more study with Wayne Benson. If a man has Darin on his right hand and Wayne on the left, he has no excuse not to make a mandolin player. I am thankful for both of them.
For decades now I’ve picked with the best regional players around, but my day job keeps me close to home, and we don’t travel far. We have an active local music scene though, and the national bands play in our area every so often.
Every time a band comes through Harvey County I take in the show if I am in town, and always thank them for what they do. Medicine is a tough road. (So is the music circuit) I take it hard whenever my people suffer and playing, listening to, and writing about music is my escape. And bless my staff and fellow docs. They grant me the time to go play, and so do my patients.
To everyone who ever played a note of this wonderful music, either with me on stage or for me when I was in the crowd, I send you my sincerest Thanksgiving best wishes, and pray you have a fine holiday. I doubt I’d still be alive without you, and I know I wouldn’t be as happy.
My whole life has been set to a soundtrack, and I’m richer for it. I appreciate all my readers. You not only follow my story but contribute to it. My life is so much better to have found you, and I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
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