In the beginning, I wrote the Welcome column every day…..EVERY BLESSED DAY! After a few years, Mark Varner began to contribute his Monday morning column; a little later, Bruce Campbell took over Wednesdays; and then, over time, we began adding monthly contributors, and, boy, we’ve added some good ones. I continue to keep Tuesdays, though at least half the time there are special posts, like Steve Tilden’s column day before yesterday ‘Gratitude’ message, that pre-empt my ramblings. So I don’t do much Welcome writing anymore, and that’s okay by me. However, there are certain months each year, and this month is one of them, which happen to contain fifth days of the week. Yesterday, for example, was the fifth Thursday, today’s the fifth Friday and tomorrow’s the fifth Saturday. I get all of the fifths, so I’ll use this one to do a little catching up.
First and foremost on my mind today is the loss of Lloyd Butler. Few people in my nearly thirty-five years in the CBA have come to personify the Association’s sense of community more than Lloyd. Day or night, from a jolting cup of early morning coffee to a 3:00 a.m. swig from his Red Mountain gallon bottle, Lloyd and his encampment were always a welcoming destination at festivals and campouts alike. Our friend had an uncommon love of the music, and with it, an infectious enthusiasm for playing it with who ever happened to wander up to his camp. With each new year we’re fortunate to be able to welcome new members to our bluegrass family, and thank God that we are, because each year we lose some dear ones.
I shared with you all a few weeks back that Lynn and I said farewell to our pup of fourteen years, Alex. Well, a few days after Alex left, Willy arrived. Another blond lab, he’ll be just nine weeks old tomorrow. It’s taken Eddy and Rudy several days to accept the young one, but it’s finally starting to happen; I caught Rudy begrudgingly playing tug-of-war with Will this morning. When he saw me see him, he dropped the rope. ‘Huh, me play with that squirt? No way, we want him gone….out of here. Don’t need no puppy around here. Two dog’s is just fine.’ Eddy on the other hand displays a quiet indifference toward Willy, but he’ll come around too. These things take time. Click to view extreme indifference.
You may have read on the Message Board that the CBA (read Tim Edes) has pulled off a major conquest: we’ve signed the Gibson Brothers for our annual Night at the Grange Concert in Morgan Hill. If you caught these two guys and there band last year at Plymouth you know what a dynamic brand of bluegrass they perform. Yes, March 20th is a ways off, but you’d better mark your calendar and make certain you buy your tickets early. This will be a sold out show to be sure. And a big congratulations to Tim….it’s not easy to get the Gibson Brothers out here on the West Coast.
And another bit of big show news—our South San Joaquin Area Vice President, Craig Wilson, has once again given the GREAT 48 Jammers a reason to show up in Bakersfield one day early. Crag’s worked with the non-profit community down there to plan another Thursday night kick-off concert at the Doubletree. Sawmill Road, an act fast becoming a national force in the world of bluegrass, has been booked. Again this year the GREAT 48 will get kicked off a day earlier with this special benefit concert at the Doubletree. This year the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will team up with the Kiwanis Club to bring us Sawmill Road. Thursday, January 7…..Social at 6, dinner at 7, show at 8. Fifty bucks gets you the whole deal. Call 661-589-8249 or 661-747-2855 for ticket information. Oh, and book your room at the Doubletree….. Click here. Before I leave this subject it’s important to acknowledge the work Craig does down in the southern San Joaquin. As our southern most board member and our Area Activities VP Craig Wilson is a key player in the CBA’s effort to the broader California in its activities. Whether it’s troubled youth or cancer research, Craig somehow manages to bring together top notch bluegrass acts with worthwhile and important causes. Oh, and we should mention he makes extraordinary mandolins when not working for the Association. (This just in from Craig…..the Doubletree has informed us that 41 of the 78 rooms we’ve reserved for the GREAT 48 have been taken. If you’re coming and need a room grab one before they’re all gone…..1-800-222-TREE (8733).
In my introductory paragraph I mentioned having written lots and lots and lots of Welcome columns over the years. Most were newsy, like today’s, but I managed to sneak in some stories over the six years I wrote nearly daily, and during that time I received a fair amount of encouragement from some of you to consider publishing a collection of short stories. So the big news around here is that I’m finally doing it. ‘Why I Never Lie and Thirteen Other Mostly True Stories” is in the proofing stage and should be published not long after the first of the year. Thanks to Cliff Compton for pointing me in the right direction to finally get this thing accomplished.
Finally, as sick and tired of my daily musings as many of you were all those years, I have to believe there are even more of you who are sick to death of the graphics I’ve been creating and posting on the splash page day after day. Yes, it’s me….ME….who’s been responsible for the seldom humorous, more often cutesy, occasionally ironic, frequently unintelligible and routinely inappropriate graphics that have graced our home page for the past eight years. Surely there is someone out there who has a good graphic eye, who knows Photoshop and who can at least spell me. Please?