Author: Ramos, Jean

Pick Pockets

I enjoyed reading Cliff’s column this month; he was mentioning all the things he finds in his pockets when digging for his car keys; the capo, tuner, and guitar picks. I always carry picks in the pocket of my jeans too; you never know when a need may arise. Many of you may have seen that flash mob video that made the rounds on You Tube where a large group of people began singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. It took place in a food court, in front of many unsuspecting diners. Well shortly after I viewed that, I was in a Costco store and there was a cheap acoustic guitar on display. I gave some thought to starting a similar kind of sing-a-long right there in Costco but alas, someone else picked the guitar up and was trying to tune it by ear. I thought to myself, if only Cliff was here, we’d have a tuner and we could bring some life to this place with some rousing bluegrass music. Spontaneous combustion!

A couple weeks ago, I heard some loud music coming from somewhere in our neighborhood. It sounded too loud to be from an automobile. When I went out into the backyard, I found that the music was coming from a church that is behind our home and down the street a little. The curious thing about it was that they were playing songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Great Balls of Fire.” I thought to myself, that’s not the Gospel music I grew up on, but you know if you really think about it, it does send a similar message. It turns out that it was a large group of Harley Davidson Bikers that were holding a fundraiser for kid’s toys for Christmas. God Bless them. Giving is what it’s all about. I know that many CBA folks did their part in making the holidays a little more joyful for others by playing music in rest homes and convalescent hospitals. I played music with a group of folks at a rest home in Pleasanton. We did our regular bluegrass and old country music instead of Christmas songs; we figured they’d already heard enough Jingle Bells and Rudolph. It was heartwarming to see some of the residents singing along.

By the time this message is posted, it will be the day after Christmas. The Salvation Army bells will be silenced, there’s nothing left of Frosty but a carrot, a top hat and a couple chunks of coal. I was going to say, the inflatable Santa’s will be deflated, but to tell you the truth, I saw more of them laying flat in the yards than I saw inflated ones, (there’s nothing attractive about that by the way). It makes it look like Santa made a crash landing and was DOA. It won’t be long before the Christmas trees are kicked to the curb awaiting the Boy Scouts recycling program. That can only mean one thing! BAKERSFIELD and the 48 HOUR JAM! It can’t come soon enough!

I don’t like the lull in CBA activities during November and December. I found myself on the Message Board several times a day, making lame remarks and bad jokes just for the pleasure of interacting with the CBA Bluegrass Family. I know that some of our posts are not about Bluegrass or Old Time Music, but they keep us connected. Some of the news that came across the board was sad, like the death of Bill and Faye Downs’ son, and the passing of our friend Kern and others. We followed the ups and downs of our friend, Pat Calhoun. We were kept abreast of things when Hank Zuniga was diagnosed with cancer. We also got to celebrate his successful surgery and good prognosis. The same when Gene Bach had his surgery. It gave us a chance to send encouraging words and offer prayers for folks we really care about. Some of us even had a good time with all the baseball threads when the Giants went to the World Series and subsequently won, even if it was at the expense of Ed Alston. So during this lull, there may be less about California Bluegrass and more about Association but it’s all good.

I’m wishing you all a blessed New Year and look forward to the big kick-off in Bakersfield. Load up your pockets with CBA survival gear; picks, capos, tuners and rosin and we’ll see you there.

Posted:  12/26/2010

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