Author: Ramos, Jean

Lighthouse Camp-Out

This has been the busiest summer I’ve had in years and there’s no sign that things will slow down until November. There have been so many opportunities to get together with the “bluegrass” family, make music, share some meals and visit. We’ve been to two big parties, the Grass Valley Festival and the Lighthouse Camp-out. Somewhere in between all that, we had 50 yards of concrete poured on our place, new driveways, sidewalks and patios. I’m so glad to have that job behind us.

Our contractor said we shouldn’t park anything heavy (like a pick-up and camper) on the concrete for at least 21 days. We decided to “park” the truck and camper at the Lighthouse Resort in Isleton for a week. Problem solved.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Vic and Walt right away, Vic got us a good spot near his camp. Actually, there are no “bad” spots at the resort. Our neighbors, Carol and Bill who are members of the resort and not “bluegrassers,” invited us to anchor our EZ-Up and chairs in the large open area in their spot behind us, they even furnished carpeting, tables, additional seating and bottled water. Our thought was, “if you build it they will come.” I uploaded a picture of our camp on Facebook, with empty chairs and my guitar leaning against one of them, with a caption that read, “What’s wrong with this picture”? I received some fun responses, Rich Evans thought the problem was the lack of a mandolin; Val wanted to know if there had been a fire drill. Of course, the problem was the empty chairs. It wasn’t long before we remedied the situation. All I had to do was strum a few chords on my guitar and the few of the early bird pickers that were there started arriving with instruments in hand.

Don and Judy Pemberton were also camped behind us; he never missed an opportunity to jam. I found out they now live just down the road from us here in Brentwood and I’m so glad we are getting a few more musicians in our area. I’m thinking of hosting some jams on our side of the county, what with the new patios, etc.

At every bluegrass event, I meet new people, get better acquainted with others and make new friends; the Lighthouse Camp-Out was no exception. I met a couple, Kim and Aimee, from Manteca who are wonderful musicians and singers. There are some people that you bond with right away, and that’s the way I felt about them. It almost felt like Aimee was a sister that I was separated from at birth and by some fluke, we were re-united at this camp-out. The great thing is, they don’t live too far away and we plan on getting together and doing some picking and singing soon.

I also had the opportunity to play with many other talented musicians at the open mic each evening. Tina Louise Barr amazes me with all the music she can coax out of that autoharp. Of course, Uncle John is no slouch either. The open mic was fun; I think everyone was made to feel welcome, no matter the skill level. We had Jonathan Bluemel who is an accomplished banjo picker and then we had one lady who was a beginner who played her whole song on one string of her banjo and led everyone in a rousing rendition of “You are My Sunshine.” Brooks Judd kept us all happy and in time with his wonderful bass playing. He was everyone’s cheer leader, after each song he would find something positive to say about their song. We need people like him.

I met a man name Dave who had just bought a nice guitar and wanted to learn to play something on it. He knew a few chords but didn’t know how to put it all together. He told me he sings in church. It was so fun to sit with him and show him all the songs he could sing with just three or four chords. I told him that many of the songs we were doing in the jams and open mic were songs he could play along with. The next night he had his guitar and he sat where he could watch my hands and he strummed along grinning from ear to ear. I see a “hooked on bluegrass” story in the making. My thought is, if you can show a guy how to play G, C, D, and A, and teach him how to use a capo, you can hook ‘em.

This fall, the CBA will be holding the Annual Fall Camp-Out in Isleton at the Lighthouse Resort in Isleton. It is a great location, lots of shaded spots, many amenities. My husband, Terry, took part in a horse shoe tournament there and won a six-pack for his second place win. If you like to fish, you can bring a pole and your license and drop in a line. I heard that one of our CBA guys reeled in thirteen fish in one morning, bass and catfish, using night crawlers for bait. I didn’t personally see them but I’ve never been lied to by a left handed fiddler before so I’ve no reason to doubt now.

I’d like to extend our thanks to the folks at the Lighthouse Resort for the wonderful hospitality. Special thanks to Vic Yeakle and Walt Jameison for all their efforts to make the Lighthouse Camp-Out a wonderful way to spend a week. Vic supplied the sound system and assisted in finding camp spots for folks and was an all around good PR man. Walt and his wonderful staff kept us well fed with reasonably priced, delicious meals. In fact, I think Walt and his “harem” (his words) could be considered part of the entertainment at the resort.

Come to the Fall Camp-Out at the Lighthouse, you’ll be glad you did. The dates are October 11-17th. See you there.
Posted:  8/22/2010

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