Author: Shelton, Randy

12 Months Later

It has been exactly a year since this old guy took up music for the first time in his 66 years. It is time for a recap.

The last twelve months have contained experiences beyond my wildest dreams. I play a guitar daily, jam often, attend every music event possible, take photos and build slideshows of CBA events, volunteer at festivals, and write a monthly column for the CBA. New friends have become like family, one made up of the happiest and most friendly folks on earth. All thanks to bluegrass music.

Writing this third Thursday column for the CBA web site is an honor and a challenge. I was never much for writing, hated doing papers in college, wasn’t much for penning official correspondence as was required of an officer in the USN and disliked writing contracts during my business years. Now retired, here I sit, punching keys on this computer with two, sometimes three fingers, composing a column on an unfamiliar subject that is exciting to me. I was asked to write not only from the perspective of a “Newbie” but from someone in their mature years taking up music for the first time. It has been said that seniors “can’t” do what I am doing. While it may be impossible to become a Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill or Bill Monroe, it is possible to create happiness and satisfaction in your personal world. There is no one to appease with your talents but YOU. This has not been an easy trail to follow. I am happy with where I am today, thanks again to bluegrass music.

Retirement brought on life changes I was not prepared for. Some were good, some not. Mary Lou was still working, I was home alone. Watching reruns of Jerry Springer and playing online card games soon grew old. The desire to learn something new crept into my mind. Since we enjoyed Bluegrass music, I bought a guitar and started playing. Don’t be fooled, this journey is no walk in the park. There have been many, many frustrating and embarrassing moments. The term “train wreck” has a new meaning. In lesson one of the Toneway Project Luke Abbott said, “Stumble as a child” but he never mentioned anything about a darned train. Should you be walking in my shoes, stay at it. Stay on that train until you learn to drive it! Don’t give up.

There are many CBA folks who have been encouraging. I would like to particularly thank John Hettinger for all he does to promote the music we all love. Your dedication is unmeasurable. Thanks for the jams, the newsletters, the house concerts and especially for Loretta’s home made pies. There were times I was ready to stave off another embarrassing “train wreck” by not coming to a Thursday night jam but it was through your encouragement that I continued. Paul Predoehl and his wife Judy have accepted me into their home to jam on Thursday afternoons for months. Paul has been an inspiration and is a wonderful mentor. I can not thank you enough Paul, you are special. Good luck building that new mandolin. Today through diligence, lots of practice and the help of friends I can sing and play several tunes. I am a happy camper, life is good.

The Grass Valley and Susanville events are history, festival season continues. Today Mary Lou and I leave for the Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival in Etna, CA. In August- the Good Old Fashioned and the Bowers Mansion festivals. Plymouth is close to home so why not take in Bluegrass in the Foothills in September. The fall campout rolls along in mid October at the Lighthouse Resort in the delta. Let’s see, can I squeeze in the Golden Old Time Campout too? I better check the CBA web site for dates and information, you should too. Hope to see you along the road. Don’t give up! Have fun!

“The Newbie” aka Randy Shelton

Posted:  7/19/2012

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