Author: Compton, Cliff

Monaís Chocolate Cake
Today's column from Cliff Compton
Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mona made me a cake. From scratch. In the oven of her R.V. enough chocolate to send a womans endorphins into a dream state. Enough chocolate to make a bitter man sweet. Just because it was my birthday and she likes me, bless her heart.

And Renee brought me a piece of cake. And my wife brought me a cake and they had to roll me back to my tent.

And thatís the way it is at fathers day. I keep planning my birthday the same week. When I first started coming here I was getting older. Iím getting older still, and so are my friends, but I keep coming back here anyway. I figure getting older is worth all the fun I have while here. The late night jams arenít lasting as long as they used to. I never made it past 4:30 a.m. on any of the nine nights I was here, and Nevada county red never crowed at me while I was still on the outside of my tent this year.

I donít like to think about time when Iím at grass valley. I let my blackberryís battery run down, and only recharge it when Iíve got to make a call and thatĎs the only clock IĎve got. Iím never really sure what time it is. I miss more stage acts than I see because those people are still punching a clock, and me, I figure if Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and it did, maybe I can at least pretend itís slowed down a little, and when somebody says theyíve got to stop jamming and go to bed because itís 3: oíclock, Iím usually surprised.

And time is not nearly as friendly as it was a few years ago. Iíve got five friends that were all in the hospital right before, during, or after grass valley, and time has a lot to do with that. It keeps pecking away at the fabric of our lives unraveling all our possibilities and leaving holes in our dreams.

And I picked with this kid named Cameron, full of all that life that Iím still hanging on to, and heís got that joy thing going on. Singing good, picking good, making his mamma proud. And weíre gonna see him picking like a freight train if our arteries hold up and our heart keeps pumping and just watching him, and Alex the new fiddle player, and A.J. Lee and Marty V. is like a transfusion of life adding a few more clicks to the clock.

And Iím sitting in chef Mikes camp with all the usual suspects and Snap Jacksonsí bunch is jamming and reminding us of how it was when our hearts beat in double time and sleep was something you did when you were dead, and we were picking with them ripping off their energy and storing it in our hearts to help us through Friday nights jam. And gotta admit, it made me feel young enough to prowl, which I didnít do, because feeling and doing ainít always the same thing. But anyhowÖ.you canít stop time. You just file away the memories and pull them out when you canít do it anymore.

And my hand hurt like the dickens. I couldnít play for a couple of days. Spent the night playing the Harmonica. Had more fun than two nineteen year olds.

And anyway, thank you Mona for the Chocolate cake. And donít let time catch you. Run as fast as your scooter will go, and keep watching your rearview mirror. If time starts to pass Ö over him.
Posted:  7/12/2009

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