Author: Compton, Cliff

Normal people

When Lloyd Butler died and left me his beautiful martin guitar, he also left me the case that came with it. On that case were a number of stickers and slogans mostly concerning his association with bluegrass music. There were bumper stickers for the California bluegrass association, the Northern California Bluegrass Association, and one other sticker that sort of stood by itself. Right there by the handle, it says ďnormal people scare meĒ.

I love that sticker.

I guess maybe thatís part of what I like about bluegrass. This ainít normal.

This is a gray flannel world we live in. Lots of people passing out business cards and playing golf on the weekend, straddling the party line, listening to musical pablum amd devoting their lives to the acquisition of ever increasing mounds of stuff. I donít know, I guess thatís all fine and dandy. There must be something to it. Sure are a lot of people doing it.

As for me, itís incomprehensible. I like characters. Bluegrass is full of them. Interesting people. A lot of them with their bubbles a little out of plumb. A little skewed to the right or left. A lot of fun in this community. People who know how to wind it up and then let her unwind. This community is like a patchwork quilt with a lot of color. Explanation points in a sea of question marks. Thereís a lot of waves on this sea of tranquility.
Guys like J.D. Rhynes. With a hat bigger than Texas and a face that ought to be chiseled on Mount Rushmore. Every time I see him I think Webster ought to redefine the word icon, and illustrate it with J.D.ís picture. I ainít trying to get personal but, how about that Abbot family? God didnít make fifty copies of those guys. Every time I see them, I wish I was related. How about my dear friends the Zunigaís? The crazy cat lady Nancy and her tower of power husband Henry. I wish theyíd move next door to meÖ Iíd sing all night.

I donít know. What constitutes normal? I know I took a personality test once that said my personality type was shared by only three percent of humanity.

Iím not sure what normal is, but Iím pretty sure it ainít that. Maybe thatís why I felt like I did when I found you people. This kind of music donít get much radio play. Itís not listened to by a large percentage of the population.

When weíre out there picking for three days on a weekend thereís a whole lot of people sitting home watching wheel of fortune, or polishing their nine irons or what ever it is that normal folks do.

I think Popeye the sailor man said it best, when he said. ďI yam what I yam.Ē and I guess the truth is, we are what we are.

Not everybody fits in a mold. Some of us hang over the edges; gray flannel suits make us itch. Jessica Simpson leaves us mystified. And we ainít playing golf unless they put strings on the club.

And I sure am glad I found you guys and gals and this wonderful music.

Hereís to Popeye!

Posted:  2/12/2010

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