Today’s column from Rick Cornish ([email protected])
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Yes, it’s me again. It’s ten o’clock and I just realized that today’s a fifth Sunday, which means we don’t have one of our Welcome contributors scheduled. But that’s okay because I can combine what I was already doing with writing today’s message, which was working on this year’s Grass Valley resolutions.
What’s a Grass Valley resolution? Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like: I make a list of things that I’ll change, or work on, for the Fathers Day Festival I’m about to attend. You see, for me, the CBA FDF is a lot like the New Year’s holiday, which is to say that my year, at least my bluegrass year, begins when I pull into Gate Four. But my resolutions aren’t for the entire year, they’re for the week I’ll spend in that pine forest. I started this practice about ten years into my Grass Valley history, which will make this year’s set of resolutions my twenty-second. (I wish I’d saved past resolutions, but I never do—I’m not even sure I could find my past tax returns.)
You see, I love experiencing this festival so much that I refuse to believe the experience can’t get any better. So each year I make a list of ways I’m going to make my week at the Fathers Day Festival even better than the year before and then I hang the list up inside my trailer, on the mirror where I shave each morning, and check off my progress with a pencil. Okay, so here are my 2008 Grass Valley Resolutions….
Resolution One—Stay healthy. Last year I arrived at the festival with a sore throat, and by the time I left the Monday after the last day, I had strep. Actually, I’ve started working on this resolution already by staying away from people with colds and not breathing in any lime from concrete bags, which is how I got the throat thing in ’07.
Resolution Two—In jams, take a break every time one is offered to me, regardless of what key the song’s in. Oh, and not start skulking away when I hear somebody mention the key of B. This is another one I’ve started working on; I’m practicing B and Bb and F scales twenty minutes or so a day.
Resolution Three—Stay in chairs longer. This is a really, really difficult one for me. In fact, I’ve probably included this resolution, worded any number of ways, a dozen or so times in my past lists. You see, I’ve been clinically diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, and, in a festival setting, this translates into many, many, many very brief conversations with people. And it’s so strange, because when I do sit for an extended period of time, and really become engaged in a conversation, I enjoy it tremendously.
Resolution Four—Take more photos. It’s not that we ever have a shortage of photos submitted to Kenny Reynolds after an event; it’s just that there are some people who seem never to have their picture taken. These are the people I’ll be stalking and shooting, and I’ve got a feeling this will be one of my more successful resolutions, given that this year I’ll have my I-Phone, with high resolution camera, in my pocket day and night.
Resolution Five—Eat five servings of fruits and/or vegetables per day. In my early Grass Valley days, I’d actually come home after a week in the woods with pre-scurvy conditions. Over the years I’ve stalked up on more and more apples and carrots and such, but this year I’m going full bore: two 12 ounce glasses of low sodium V-8 juice each day and I’ll be taking in everything the USDA insists upon.
Resolution Six—When it’s my turn in a jam, select new songs, not my standard old ones. ‘Oh, here comes Cornish, get ready to play Your Love is Like a Flower.’ Well, not this year, darn it. I’ve been working on a big bunch of new songs, and I’ve got lyrics to 250 bluegrass tunes loaded into my I-Phone. I WILL succeed with this resolution.
Resolution Seven—Go to bed early Wednesday night and get up fresh and rested Thursday morning. This is an important one. You see, they let me MC the first show of the festival, first thing Thursday morning. Yes, I know, they’ve given me this slot because it’s the shortest of all slots and there are fewer people in the audience, but I don’t care—this year I’m going to be fully awake and articulate and full of enthusiasm and I will have practiced saying the name of each band I am to introduce. The whole deal depends on Wednesday night. Please, if you see me Wednesday after midnight, send me to bed.
Resolution Eight—Introduce my wife to as many people as possible. Lynn almost never comes to bluegrass events, and when she comes to Grass Valley she only stays for a couple days, usually Thursday and Friday, and she sleeps in a motel. It’s for this reason, that many, many people I know from my bluegrass life believe that I am a single man who’s either a liar or delusional. Frankly, I’m not sure which is worse. In any event, I’m going to do everything I can this year to make my wife stand out.
Resolution Nine—Hang out with Ed Alston more. This is actually one that my wife, Lynn, has insisted I add to this year’s list. It’s a resolution that has less to do with improving my GV experience and more to do with improving me….as a person. Lynn points out, I must admit accurately, that Ed is a man of great integrity, a man with few if any bad habits. Someone with social aplomb, a quick mind and just plain good manners. My wife believes I can learn a lot from Ed Alston.
Resolution Ten—Spend far less time with J.D. Rhynes. Again, one added by my wife.
So there you have it. One man’s game plan for making the Thirty-Third Annual California Bluegrass Association Fathers Day Festival even better than the Thirty-Second. If you’re interested in seeing how I do, just jog over to the old Argosy twenty-footer anytime—the list will be scotch-taped to the bathroom mirror.