Author: Cornish, Rick

Stuck in Lodi

Good Tuesday morning from Whiskey Creek, where the summer deck furniture has been carefully stowed away in the barn, the old Argosy camp trailer is drifting off into its deep, hibernatory sleep, where all dogs and all llamas have begun in earnest to grow back their thick coats in time for the first Alaskan flow from the north and where Lynn and I, the only two humans in the outfit, begin our first year together as bona fide, card carrying Medicare recipients. I remember so well when we fell in love, each of us with the sublime anticipation of “growing old together”, neither one of us actually believing that could ever happen…the growing old part, that is. Well, guess what; it could and it did.

Okay, so where to begin? Feels like we don’t have these talks much anymore. (I’ve done such a thorough job finding excellent Welcome columnists that I’ve all but put myself in the unemployment line.) How about this for a spectacular start…Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Montie Elston! Yesiree, after a very thorough courtship and engagement, Susan and Montie were hitched, tied the knot, did the deed, got hooked, became transfused, stepped off, made one, matrimonially unified…well, you get the idea. Mark Varner did a fine job in this month’s Bluegrass Breakdown telling the Susan and Montie story, which, by the way, included as an early date attendance at a CBA camp out where Susan got her first glimpse of what she was in for. Read the story, it’s got a hell of a happy ending.

Not so happy an ending for my otherwise delightful adventure in Lodi this past weekend. The weather was PERFECT, the jamming was ceaseless and joyful, laughter and frivolity ruled each and every day and the site, the Lodi Grape and Wine Festival Fairgrounds, was simply outstanding. Vaughn and Glenda Lew, Co-State-Wide Activities VP’s, with only one other camp out under their belt, did everything just right. They are to be commended…and in fact were at the Sunday morning board meeting. So, what was my unhappy ending? How about getting less than a mile away from the fairgrounds on my way home when the old Argosy popped off the F-150’s trailer hitch? Thankfully the heavy-duty welded safety chain kept trailer and truck tethered and we coasted to a stop right in front of a Mexican market that specialized in hand-make corn tortillas. Turns out the trailer’s tongue needed replacing…should be ready to pick up tomorrow…which works out perfectly since the tortillas I brought home will be gone by then. So, yes, as the song went, I was stuck in Lodi but only for as long as it took for Triple A to show up and me to scarf down El Pastor ladened tortillas.

As most of you know by now, the fall camp out is the only event of the year that’s actually required under the Association’s by-laws. Officially, the activity is referred to as the Annual Camp Out and Membership Meeting and its primary purpose (other than having great gobs of fun) is to introduce CBA members to their newly elected board, hear any questions or concerns for suggestions from members and set the calendar of monthly meetings for the coming year. If you haven’t heard already, the single open seat on the board, which was vacated by Bruce Campbell, (one of the hardest working volunteers I’ve ever had the privilege of hanging with), went to Angelica Grim Doerful. Late Saturday night I stumbled upon Carl Pagter and Angelica sitting alone picking some quiet tunes. I joined them for an hour and a half or so and I’ll tell you what, the music we three made together will stay with me for a long, long time. Very little talking between songs but the communication had depth and substance. When you help lead an organization whose reason for being is articulated with lofty, generalized words like “to preserve and promote” it’s a rare and wonderful thing to see tangibly the fruits of your labor and to catch a glimpse of what is to come. For Carl and I that late, chilly Saturday night jam in Lodi allowed us such a glimpse. Angelica will be a good leader; you could make the argument that she’s been training for the job ever since she was able to finger her first G chord.

Posted:  10/22/2013

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email