Author: Varner, Mark

A word from the editor

Dear friends,

Please do not confuse me with my son Marty, with whom I am swapping Welcome Column days this month. It is I, Varner the Elder. Feeling elder every day.

As editor of the CBA’s monthly publication I owe much (VERY much) to my predecessor and mentor, the late and much missed Suzanne Denison. The CBA and west coast bluegrass is a much better place because of her tireless work, not only as editor of the Bluegrass Breakdown, but as a leader and super volunteer.

In following Suzanne at the helm of the Breakdown I have tried to carry on the basic format she created. I have taken to heart the various advice she gave me about the job. I have not followed Suzanne’s example in one regard: she always placed a “word from the editor” column in the paper each issue. So allow me to pretend that I am writing one now and simply chat you all up.

It’s pretty fun producing the award winning CBA paper. (Rick Cornish advises you NOT to call it a “newsletter” due to its heft and wide variety of fine articles.) Doing so has had one distinct outcome: I am always, always busy and stuck at home most of the time. I have, after all, a day job, so the Breakdown is a very nocturnal beast, like an owl or a Panamanian night monkey.

I don’t get to mix with folks like I did eight or more years ago. It could be lonely if I was not in touch with so many bluegrass folks through the course of each day by email and by phone. And I do get the latest CDs so I can sit here at the computer and groove away. (Still loving the new Jr. Sisk!)

So I find simple pleasure in my work. For instance I’m loving our writing staff these days! Such world-class writers; we are indeed fortunate. I know folks have liked Sid Lewis’ new Welcome column on this web site. And I loved seeing Ted Kuster’s tribute to J.D. Rhyne’s cooking column on the website recently, a remarkable piece of writing in itself! (I will be re-printing it in the Bluegrass Breakdown, for those who missed it.)

Editing J.D. was kind of like… Well, there’s really nothing. Ha ha. Just kidding. I do miss his columns since he retired. (And we’re all pleased his treatment for Parkinson’s is going well!) Before J.D. retired, after over two score years (when J.D. started writing the column, people used “score years” to measure time) he did a brilliant job at installing a new auteur for the cooking column. That fine woman is Eileen Kleinschmidt (the spelling of whose name I have committed to memory, though the MS Word spell checker is extremely dubious) and she has been producing excellent columns for several months now.

Well, unfortunately Eileen had to take a leave of absence in order to take care of a family member, and she asks that we keep her in our prayers. We are bereft of a cooking column in the March Bluegrass Breakdown, I am afraid. (I have learned that I need to keep readers informed when a column is missing. The one-issue absence of the Bluegrass Bard resulted in a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. I fear readers suspect that I have murdered the poor purloined writer and concealed him or her in the crawlspace of my lonely cabin. This has only happened on one or two occasions, so any characterization is unfair.)

So I says to myself, I says, “Hey, Eileen featured a recipe from Frank Solivan II in a recent column. I wonder if I could not expand on that idea.” So I sent Frank an email and I am very pleased to say that he has agreed to fill in for Eileen, a period of some months. It’s going to be… wait for it… FRANK’S DIRTY KITCHEN. Exxxcelllennnnt…

Now, I know that there are some of you who do not read the Bluegrass Breakdown. The angels in heaven shed big tears at the thought, but hey, it is not mandatory. CBA members get plenty for their membership buck otherwise. But we strive to produce a monthly document that should act as enticement to be a member of the largest and finest bluegrass association in the world. For instance, this month there’s a special article by freelance writer, Tim Simmers, from the Fresno area. He has written a fine piece on old time legend, Kenny Hall. Excellent photographs by Marc Blake accompany the article. Check it out.

Anyhoo, thanks for listening to me ramble. Always feel free to submit materials or letters to the Breakdown. Send them to me at the email addy below. See you real life soon I hope!!

Your pal,
Mark Varner

Posted:  3/2/2013

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