Author: Ramos, Jean

Staying Connected

Usually when I sit down to write my monthly welcome column, I have a topic in mind and make mental and “sticky” notes of things I want to include. This month happens to be the exception. I was waiting for an inspiration that never came until late this week.

I had taken my mother-in-law in for a dental appointment and as I sat in the waiting room I opened my spiral notebook and started to jot down random thoughts, believing that sooner or later a welcome column topic would materialize. I hesitate to share some of the thoughts I put down but they were such things as: Why do people fight for a parking spot near the door of the gym and then go inside and do 45 minutes on the treadmill? Is there a difference between a nook and a cranny? Will I really get arrested for tearing the tags off my mattress and pillows? Will my new face cream really take ten years off my age, and if I doubled up on it, would I get twenty?

As I was pondering these heavy topics, I noticed a woman in the waiting room playing some type of game on her Blackberry. She was chewing gum and the more intense the game became, the faster her jaws moved. Well that was okay except, she was a gum “popper” of the worst kind. At first it sounded like someone “flicking their Bic” and then escalated to sounding like a Single Action Shooters Rendezvous right there in the waiting room. How is a person to get any writing done with the rapid fire emanating from this gum chewing Annie Oakley? I tried to make eye contact with her to give her some kind of look that may stop the insanity. No luck. My second thought was, I could chew my own gum and give her a dose of the same except I don’t have the skill, or the lack of class. My last resort was to get out my iPhone, plug in my headset which I always have in my purse, and listen to some bluegrass music to drown out the source of my irritation. It was at that moment, I came up with my topic of the month. I sat there with my headset in hand and no iPhone in my purse! I had left it at home! I felt like I had lost my lifeline to the rest of the world. How could this happen? When did my dependency begin?

Somehow I have lived the first 50 years of my life without a cell phone, and managed quite well. My childhood home never had a telephone and we survived. We made a daily trip to the post office/store and this is where the news of the day was exchanged. News such as; a birth, a death, if the moon is right for planting, if there was a stranger seen in the village along with speculation as to their business on the reservation. The basket weavers could find out if the willow sticks were ready to pick, fisherman could learn if the salmon run had begun. You could find out who killed a deer, or learn if the acorns were falling yet. As they say, you heard all the news that was fit to print and some that wasn’t.

This daily trip to the store and post office was the highlight of the day for the local folks and in that little village, it still is. There was the usual collection of characters who liked to sit in front of the store and banter with everyone that came and went. I still enjoy going to the store when ever I go “home.” It’s a different set of characters, but they are every bit as colorful. What a contrast to my trip to Safeway here in Brentwood! I very seldom see a familiar face; I buy a frappacino on my way in, I do my shopping and go home. The personal interaction that we had with friends in the days of my childhood trips to the store has now been replaced by the CBA message board, Facebook and my email inbox. All the information I need is accessible on my iPhone. I can Google the weather report, fishing report, late breaking news; it’s all in the palm of my hand with a few touches to the screen of my little “magic box.”

By now, you may be wondering about bluegrass content. I can tell you that all my favorite music is in the iPod function of my phone. If I want to learn a new song, I play it over and over again while I’m doing my crunches and curls at the gym; Tyminski on the treadmill, Rhonda on the rowing machine, Skaggs on stationary bike, Alison on the elliptical, you get the picture.

When the CBA website was attacked recently and I couldn’t make the connection with the bluegrass family, it made me realize what a big part of my life CBA has become. Daily visits to the site now are like my trips to the store and post office in the days of yore. A big “thank you” to our website team, they do a terrific job!

I look forward to seeing you all at the Spring Camp-out at Turlock; making new acquaintances and jamming with my friends, old and new. It won’t be the same without Phil, Lloyd and Wayne this year but we will have them there in our hearts. None of us have a guarantee of tomorrow, so stay connected in whatever way you choose and tell your bluegrass friends you love ‘em you while you can. See you in Turlock.
Posted:  3/28/2010

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