Author: Daniel, Bert

Lost Youth

(Editor’s Note: Bert’s column was written for yesterday, Sunday the 12th; however, the web master prudently poured every last ounce of energy he could muster into making the long drive from Bakersfield to the mid-Sierra Mountains and hence Dr. Bert’s piece on “lost youth” runs a day late. (We’d say “and a dollar short” but like all volunteer hours spent on the job no money changed hands.)

I figured my required second Sunday welcome column would be a piece of cake this week. After all, lots of readers will be headed back from the Bakersfield 48 hour jam and this should be like the Father’s Day Festival week columns that nobody reads anyway. No pressure. I can write whatever I want.

First I have to prepare lunch so I get out the sandwich grill and make a grilled cheese sandwich. It was a far cry from the best grilled sandwich I have ever had, made by Deb Livermore during my one and only trip to the Bakersfield 48. I wish I had remembered Deb’s trick of coating the outside with butter. Adding a side of tomato soup would have helped too.

I finish my grilled cheese, now I have to get ready to write my column. I figure I’ll check today’s welcome column and if it’s good, maybe that will give me some inspiration. I fire up the iPad and see that today’s columnist is George Martin. I’ve known George from I don’t know how many campouts, but all I knew for a while was that he was a super nice guy who played good banjo and would jam with just about anybody including me. I knew he was a good welcome columnist too, but I didn’t know until recently that he had worked as a professional journalist at a major newspaper his whole career.

OK, I thought. This will be good inspiration for whatever I might want to say about grilled cheese today. Then I read the column. For those of you who missed it, scroll forward and I’m sure it’s still there. Maybe it will speak to you as it did to me.

George’s column spoke to me by saying “You need to write about more than grilled cheese sandwiches today”. His touching description of an aging old friend, singing the song “When You and I Were Young Maggie” reminded me of a quote which has haunted me from the moment I first read it:

“O lost, and by the wind grieved. Ghost come back again.”

Every time I think of that quote from Look Homeward Angel, I think of how the past is the past. I think of how great it would be to relive the good times and avoid all the mistakes of the past. But you can’t. As I approach sixty now, the past becomes more and more of a ghost.

But I try not to dwell on depressing stuff like that. Otherwise you’ll have the Blue Ridge Mountain Blues right?

When I was young and in my prime
I left my home in Caroline
Now all I do is sit and pine
For the folks I left behind

When I look around at any bluegrass event, I see a lot of folks like me who are getting long in the tooth, or at least starting to. Each year brings CBA news of the passing of some people dear to us. Let’s face it, some of us are not long for this world. You never know when it will be your own time to go. We know that implicitly but we don’t think about it when we get together and enjoy each other’s company do we? We jam away like there’s no tomorrow and we should. For someone in the jam there might be no tomorrow and it might be us, but let’s not go there.

And our youth is not lost either! It’s just relocated. Listen to some of the teen and preteen jammers at our events and you’ll know what I mean. The CBA has a such great youth program. If we over-the-hill aging boomers had had such a program in our day, no telling how good we’d be now.

I’ve rambled on enough now. Thanks for the cheese sandwiches Deb. Thanks for the inspirational writing George. And thanks for listening everybody.

Posted:  1/13/2014

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