Author: Cornish, Rick

Good Saturday Morning

Good morning from Whiskey Creek, which is actually the name of the little gravel cul de sac on which we live, and more interestingly, I think, the name of the creek that bifurcates our six acres just outside the little town of Jamestown, a speck of a berg whose primary claim to fame is an intact 1870’s locomotive, closed passenger car, open passenger car and caboose, (which, from April to October, runs it’s four mile back-and-forth Saturdays and Sundays to the unbridled delight of train enthusiasts, families with young kids and young lovers and whose whistle, though two miles away, shakes a loose pane of glass in my old wood shop), which is a mere two miles from Columbia, an utterly undisturbed little 1860’s gold mining town which will be kept that way until the State Parks Department runs out of money in June of 2013, and which, in the other direction two and a half miles away, lies the slightly bigger town of Sonora, county seat of Tuolumne, whose population, the town not the county, of 2,600 souls was well over ten times that back when there was still gold in these parts or, I should clarify, the kind of gold that normal folks, as opposed to large corporations with 21st century extraction tools, can dig out of the ground or shake out of the water, which is exactly what the two young Cornish brothers, as in natives of Cornwall, England, did back in 1859 when they stumbled upon Whiskey Creek on their way to the mining fields in the higher reaches of the Sierra and decided to settle right there, or actually, here, (I can view the cabin they built from the window of my study), and see what they could find, which turned out to be the princely sum of $500 per week for eighteen months, which would have been even longer if in the summer of 1861 they hadn’t ridden bareback into Jamestown one Saturday night to have a fine beef steak dinner, enjoy the company of the fairer sex, have several whiskies and beer and, alas, end up killing one another in a knife fight right their in the bar of the Willows hotel…which is where Lynn and I will be having dinner tonight. This is a true story, the whole of which can be found at The Cornish Miners.

No, I don’t begin every Welcome column with these painfully long run on sentences, (‘Joycean stream of consciousness’ being the high falutin term), but I’ve done it a second time in a row because a bluegrass friend, more accurately a friend of my son Phil’s, whom I ran into last weekend told me that my last stream of consciousness-begun column had surely embarrassed my oldest boy, Phil. He didn’t say why he thought so…I guess he figured it was yet another sign of ‘pop’s quickly fading mind’, but I figured I’d give it a go just in case the friend was right. I’m not horribly optimistic…there are so many character flaws from which the boy’s embarrassment could have sprung.

I’ve had a terrific spring in 2012. Last year I took on a new CBA job, that of serving as the ‘help desk’ person for the Fathers Day Festival. People call at all hours of the day and night with questions, concerns, complaints, pithy observations, (example—the CBA has a lot of nerve trying to force me to use PayPal…it just flies in the face of everything Bill Monroe stood for.) But most of the calls are, or at least end up, quite positive. After all, the subject...a music festival, camping in a beautiful spot, seeing old friends, picking till the chickens come home…couldn’t be more conducive to happy back-and-forth. So, dear friends, if you’ve got a question/complain/whatever don’t hesitate to call, this year’s ‘voice of the California Bluegrass Association’ at 209 588 92314.

Couldn’t write a Saturday morning Welcome column today without mentioning my two dear friends Lou McClenahan and Terry Ramos. These two drove up here to Jamestown early Wednesday morning…two and a half and two hours driving respectively…to help with and teach the operating of a tractor. I’d spent seven years or so saving up projects that could only be undertaken with the aid of a tractor with front loader and backhoe and Lou and Terry came up to make certain the jobs got done with a minimum of fatalities. The first half of day one Lou, who is a master heavy equipment operator, did the hard stuff and taught me the basics. Terry, who’s clever at most everything, was the brains of the outfit. After my friends left in the afternoon, I spent the next day and a half pretty much constantly astride the big machine. So much fun. What other toy has the ability to instantly make you as strong as the Hulk? Anyways, thanks so much Lou and Terry…bluegrass friends extraordinaire.

Of course the really big news here at home is the slow, methodical and blissful planning and preparation for the 37th annual Fathers Day Festival at Grass Valley. This, my 36th, will be especially sweet for me; last year, as some of you will remember, I became quite ill at the festival and was forced to leave before things even got started. Hence, this year I’m even more excited than usual to drive through Gate Four. Great line-up, some new stuff we’re trying, old friends who are returning after long absences and I’ve even learned the lyrics to a new Hank Williams song. Oh, and this will be my last year at Grass Valley while serving as a board member and chair; my plan is to be particularly officious.

So that’s it, friends. Must get outside and focused on chores. Lynn and I are headed to Kauai for several days next week and I have got my pre-flight to-do list. Please have a terrific weekend.
Posted:  5/5/2012

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