Author: Campbell, Bruce

Raise a Barn and Raise Your Glasses

I don’t often stray from bluegrass content in my weekly Welcome Message, and I try not to use this bully pulpit for anything but bluegrass musings -- but this week, there are other things on my mind. I’m happy to report it’s all good: my oldest son is getting married this weekend, and the whole extended family is in an uproar as we prepare for the Big Day.

This is not one of those “write a big check and it’s all taken care of” weddings. No, this is a family affair, and yes, my son and his fiancé are paying their own way, but my extended family has lots of skills and generosity, so we are all scrambling to make sure this day will be perfect. It’s nerve-wracking but also very fun – it’s like a big barn raising.

I live in Martinez, and it’s a small town and since moving here some years ago, we have become very involved in the Arts community here. When I say “arts”, I mean visual and performing and even culinary arts. So, they are all coming through in a big way. An award-winning barbecue specialist is donating his time and skills to provide the main course for the event. My wife and many friends are preparing the other dishes. I have brewed a keg of my amazing Porter for the guests, too.

The officiate who will perform the ceremony is the older brother of my good buddy Ken, and he was the same guy who performed MY wedding ceremony 27 years ago. (Rick Cornish was my fallback position, should that have become necessary.)My buddy and bandmate Red Rick, (who is a baker/cook by trade) is baking brownies and my sister is also baking cookies. We have spoken with local artists to help with photography, and the music will be provided by many of the musicians my son has seen playing in his house all through his childhood. He and his fiancé presented us with an amazingly eclectic song list – consisting of songs from Sons of the Pioneers, Bo Diddley, Roger Miller, Bill Monroe, Duke Ellington, Robert Johnson, Howling Wolf, Hank Williams and Taj Mahal. They will all be rendered live in a shady copse of trees, without benefit of electronic sound reinforcement, just voices and wires and wood.

Nobody knows for sure what the future holds for this couple when they get married – it is a HUGE leap of faith. But being in love is all about taking that chance, putting everything on the line. I am very optimistic about this union – my son and his fiancé have been a couple for ten years, since their teens, and they seem to delight in spending time together. Any time at all. It is like that old cliché – we’re not losing a son, we’re gaining a daughter.

I beiieve in marriage. I often say, if it weren’t invented, I would have invented it. I found it very liberating to promise to spend my life with a special companion (in my case, a lovely member of the opposite sex). It was impossible to know that we would remain compatible after years of growth and change, but we’ve been lucky – it’s been embarrassingly easy, and it’s been richly rewarding. I foresee just as much happiness for Max and Jill, and it makes me very contented – Saturday will be a very, very proud day for me.

Regrets? Well, I WILL miss the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival this year, and that’s a shame. Party on!
Posted:  8/11/2010

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