Author: Ramos, Jean

Sticky Notes

I have a thing for “sticky notes.” They can be found stuck on the refrigerator, the kitchen table, around the computer, the dash of my car, the night stand, and a stray one might even be found on the bottom of my shoe or the seat of my pants. Every time I hear a song that I think I should learn being played on the radio or on a CD, I write it down on a sticky note. I’ve tried making mental notes, but lately, they’ve lost their “stickiness.”

I’m always listening for little tidbits of information, clever quips and quotes as ideas for Welcome Columns. These morsels also end up on sticky notes. Sometimes a theme doesn’t come to me until I sit down at the computer. As the Bluegrass Camp-Out and Festival Season approaches, there’s lots of fodder for monthly columns.

Many of you know that Terry and I recently made the trip down to Lake Havasu for Bluegrass on The Beach. It was so good to be back down in the desert. For several years we would spend our winters there, camped on the California side of the Lake. We fished nearly every day, and when we weren’t fishing we explored the desert on our quads. It was during one of these winters that we were first exposed to a Bluegrass Festival and Bluegrass Jamming. The rest is history…or herstory…when I get around to writing my Hooked on Bluegrass essay.

We took Charlene and Slim up on their offer to stopover in Boron on our way down to the Lake. They live within shouting distance of the highway. We spent a full day with them and Slim took us to the Borax Mine and the Museum and Visitors Center and we saw and did everything else there is to see and do in Boron. A trivia question: How many Mules were typically used in a Twenty Mule Team? We got the answer wrong.

When we arrived at Lake Havasu State Park, we were warmly greeted by Montie and the gate crew and then escorted to an excellent camping spot. We have done very little “dry camping” over the years so it was a new experience not to have water, electric and sewer hook-ups. It gave me a new appreciation for the things I take for granted. I had to run the generator to heat a curling iron. Needless to say, there were several days that I wore a hat to cover the hairdo that would remind one of alien crop circles.

On Thursday afternoon, folks were given the “go ahead” to put their chairs out. I never have felt the need to wait in a line for hours to get a front row seat. We ended up with a great location just the same. While I’m on the subject folks, it is okay to cut that tag off the back of your chair that says, “Do not remove, under penalty of Law.” While you’re at it, go ahead and live dangerously; cut it off your mattress too.

Years ago, when I lived in NY, I went to some musicals at the Jones Beach Marine Theater. They could change scenes between acts in a play, by rotating the stage which was floating on the water. I’ve decided that what we need is a stage that can rotate around the audience area. At Lake Havasu we sat facing north for several hours per day as we attended the festival. I have a beautiful tan on my left ear and the left side of my face and neck as I was exposed to the west for hours on end. My SPF 50 may have helped some, but it requires repeat applications throughout the day. Another warning to people my age who bear the marks of maturity on their faces, if you squint or smile all day, the sun doesn’t tan inside the creases, so now I have “tiger stripes” on my face. Bluegrass festivals are not for sissies.

I won’t spend much time talking about the music because you can read the review I did for the Breakdown. Suffice it to say, there were only one or two sessions that I missed. I’m hard pressed to say who my favorite group was. I have a soft place in my heart for the Central Valley Boys and I think they just get better and better. Another group that impressed me was the Spinney Brothers from Nova Scotia. I bought a couple of their CDs and played them all the way home.

There were several workshops given. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the performers. I heard some really good things about the Bass workshop given by Edgar Loudermilk of IIIrd Tyme Out. Dave Gooding told me it was really helpful and he said there were some things that he was going to work on after that presentation. I went to the Vocal Workshop given by a couple fellows from the Navy Band, most of it had to do with harmonies and performing with a band but they also had some helpful advice for vocalists in general.

As at every bluegrass event I attend, I made some new friends and renewed acquaintances with people I’ve met in the past. One fellow that stands out in my mind is Tex Dasher. He builds beautiful mandolins. He was playing one that has a top that was crafted out of wood from a giant Sequoia. He explained that the wood was salvaged from an old bridge that had been used for about 100 years and the vibrations from the cars and trucks that had crossed it had been moving through the fibers of the wood for a century and it was already singing when he crafted it into one of his fine Ranch Mandolins. He donated a similar instrument for a raffle at the festival and someone from Canada became the proud owner. Anyway, I got to jam with him several times and had the pleasure of getting acquainted with his wife Lois also.

Well here’s another “sticky note.” It says that we need to eat at least five fruits and vegetables per day to maintain good health. Our friend John Corpe (also known as Shut Up John) and his cohort, Cliff Lee, prepared breakfast nearly every morning of the festival and fed a lot of friends and volunteers. We ate at their camp a couple times and everyday at 11:00 AM, they served up a daily ration of veggies in a red Solo Cup; celery, carrots, olives, pickles, asparagus, tomatoes, etc. One needs to maintain a healthy diet. Actually, before leaving home, I packed the freezer in the camper with several Weight Watcher Entrees, plus I had a big bag of broccoli, salad greens and large bag of oranges and apples. Our intention was to eat “healthy” while we were away but it seems that every evening, we got a dinner invitation from one friend or another. We ended up bringing most of those frozen dinners back home, so much for good intentions.

Here’s another sticky note: Congratulations are in order for Larry Kuhn and his lovely bride, Caroline Disney who were married yesterday, March 24. God Bless you two.

See you all at the Spring Camp-Out, April 9-15, in Turlock. In the meanwhile, practice a few new songs, memorize some lyrics and we’ll jam.
Posted:  3/25/2012

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