Author: Compton, Cliff

Smiley camp

Surrounded by cough syrup and Kleenex at four-thirty in the morning, Iím thinking about Smiley camp, where Iím not gonna be this weekend. I was supposed to be. I meant to be, but life has a way of changing your schedule. The Rumiano's yearly bash is an event I Hate to miss. Tucked away in the mountains twenty minutes to the right of willows is this perfect place, Where the deer eat tortillas and loggers at the turn of the century used to visit an old Bordello that, at one time, was on this same plot of ground. There is music there. The good stuff. Hot pickers, and good food. A beautiful A Frame house/lodge looking over trees and campsites and the ever present deer and some of my favorite people.
I wonít be there this year, blast it all! I was gonna play that new song I learned from a Houston Jones C.D. about the Jericho Road. I was gonna play it blue and loud, and it was gonna bounce off the road and roll down to those R.V.s down below and those folks were gonna wake up and notice what they were missing, and maybe bring some food up and join us.

This is a happy place. Maybe thatís why they call it smiley camp. Itís just high enough to get you above the problems of the world for a weekend and the Rumianos are great hosts, treating you like a human being, opening up home and heart.
The first time I went up there Randy Morton's band, Pineridge was there as well as about half of Rockridge and Lucy and Mikki, and Kelly Broyles, and it was cooking, man, I hardly put down my guitar, except to eat, and thatís something you donít want to miss up thereÖ.And there was this gospel jam for about three hours Sunday morning, beautiful God songs played with heart and passion, there amongst the deer and the ghosts of the turn of the century loggers and their ladies of the night. I remember driving home Sunday morning feeling like everything was right in the world.
Iím not gonna be at smiley camp this weekend. Iím not happy about that. Seems like this is happening with greater frequency than it used to. Those four day campouts are becoming 2 or 3 day campouts. Every day missed is songs unsung. I love this music, and the people who make it, and I donít like any of it taken away by sickness or the ravages of time. But Iím gonna hang on to this
As long as I can. Appreciating every precious moment. Thankful for every tune played and every song sung.
Posted:  5/11/2012

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