Author: Rhynes, J.D.


All of the thangs an 'ol country boy is thankful fer.

The firstest and foremostest thang's in my life I'm thankful fer is, my personal saviour Jesus, my family, my country, and my REAL friends. We all have our own religious beliefs, and our own family members, [ good er bad ] and that is personal info that we usually dont discuss with other folks, and that's well and as it should be. So, that leaves probably the mostest important group of people we spend more time with, namely our REAL friends. I guess I'm the luckiest person I know, because I have more friends that are really quality people than any other person I know. AND, the majority of them are my bluegrass friends! No surprise there is it folks! Carl Pagter and I were discussing the difference between friends and family years ago, and he put it rather succinctly. You can choose yer friends, and you WISH you could choose yer family, but you cant.
Speaking of family, this thought jes stood up and shouted at me, HEY DUMMY, tell 'em about what the 'ol "Oklahoma Cowboy", Will Rogers said to a VERY prominent matron of VERY high social standing in the New York social community at a New's Year eve party one time. Seem's that she had imbibed a lot of very expensive French Champagne during the evening's festivities, and at every chance she would tell how HER forebearer's had came over on the Mayflower. When introduced to Will Rogers, she related her family tree to him, and he stated: That's very interesting Madam, but you should know, my relatives were here to meet 'em when they got off of that ship. Fer you folks that dont know, 'ol Will was half Cherokee, jes like myownself. I am so thankful to have the Native American blood that our family is proud to call our heritage of old. HEY, I'm half Irish too, that's why I'm so fair in complexion, love Irish Whiskey, [ and can drink it responsibly ] and LOVE Irish musiic and Bluegrass! SOOO, with that 'lil bit of history said, here's a story of two of my bestest friends I'll ever have in this life, namely Vern Williams, and Ray Park.

Way back in the late 1970's when Vern and I both lived in Valley Springs, Calif. , Ray came down to visit Vern one Saturday, and they came over to my house to visit and jes drink a few brews, and tell "guy" stories. It was a HOT July day, and we were settin' on my patio under the sundeck jes sharing stories of our musical times together, when out of the blue Ray sez; Hey fellers, did I ever tell you how I killed a 'lil Chihuahua dog accidently with a one ounce ball peen hammer? I looked at Vern, he looked at me, turned to Ray and said; Ray, is this another of yer B.S, fabrications? [ actually he said, B.S. lies ] Ray said, hell no Vern, I really did kill a 'lil Chawowwow [ his pronunciation ] accidently! Fer about 20 years, Ray worked as an appliance repairman and installer fer Montgomery Wards, in Placerville, Calif. He was sent to an old customers house to repair her dishwasher one day, and the lady of the house had this 'lil "Chawowwow" dog that would bark incessantly the whole time Ray would make a repair call it seems. Well, Ray said the dish washer was about 10 to 15 years old and after he took it apart he knew he would have to order the necessary parts to put it back in new order, but he could "patch" it up to get her by. He said that 'lil dog would stick his head around the corner of the cabinet and bark his head off all the time he was there. Ray was cutting a new gasket on the pump body of the dishwasher with a one ounce ball peen hammer, and the dog was barking at him nonstop, so all of a sudden Ray sez, BOOOO, in the dogs face and it scared him off down the hall jes a kiyiiiiiin! Fer about 5 minutes Ray had peace and quiet BUT, Ray said I could hear his 'lil toe nails headed back down to the kitchen to start barkin' at me again, so I jes held that 'lil hammer where I figgered his 'lil head would peek around at me, and when he did, I jes pecked him between the eyes.. Well, he let out a loud yell and took off, and I said, Ms Smith I must of stepped on yer lil dog's foot by accident. She replied, Fifi honey Mr. Park didn't mean to do it and you'll be okay. Well, Ray said, a week er so later I went back to install the new parts fer the dishwasher, and about half way through the job, I realied that infernal 'lil barking dog wasn't around. I asked the lady of the house where her 'lil dog was? She told me that jes after I was there last week 'lil Fifi had a stroke and died. Ray said ; Boy's I aint NEVER felt so bad in my whole life! We all sat there in complete silence fer at least a couple of minutes, because jes WHAT can you say after hearing one of yer bestest friends confess to such an unintentional thing? Well, my ol buddy Vern was the ABSOLUTE master of the understatement, and when Ray finally looked at Vern fer SOME kind of understanding look,or word, Vern jes said; MURDERER! I absolutely fell out of my chair laughing, and Ray lit into a'cussin' Vern with all of his might! Well, after we all had a few more Blue Ribbon beer's and the dust settled we told Ray, that was probably one of the funniest stories he'll ever be a part of, but Vern said yer still a murderer! Ray had one of the tenderest, and most loving hearts a man ever had and I know he felt bad about what he did to the day he died, but you gotta admit, my pal Vern saved the day with his understated sense of humor.

I have two of Tom Tworek's photo portraits of Vern and Ray on my living room wall. They were taken by Tom the very last time they played together, and I see my two pards every day of my life, and I long fer those good times we all had, lo these many years ago. Damn I miss 'em! GOD, country, family and friends. THAT'S what memories are made of! May you all have a great Thanksgiving with yer family and friends. Eat WAY too much, drink too much, have at least 3 pieces of pie fer dessert, and enjoy this most AMERICAN of all of our holiday's, Thanksgiving Day! I thank you folks fer jes bein there, yer friend, J.D.Rhynes

Posted:  6/23/2014

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