Author: Campbell, Bruce

Things I Learned At The Spring Campout

Hanging out at Camp Spam will lead to fun pickin’. I think I already knew this, but once again, I found it a good place to park my carcass and pick with whoever shows up, so this notion was reinforced. The Brandlis’ reputation for hospitality is well-known and well deserved.

The Specific Grains Used in Distilled Spirits Affect the Taste. As a beer brewer, I know how important the grains are, but with distilled spirits, the differences are subtler, but still distinct. The big difference here is, you can do a beer tasting exercise for several hours, while it’s not advisable (and maybe not possible) to taste spirits for too long, if you’re going to be swallowing the samples.

Deb Livermore’s Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are Second to None. I read an article not too long ago in an epicurean magazine about grilled cheese sandwiches around the country, and how different chefs are trying bold new innovative combinations of bread and cheese and – gasp – other stuff on their grilled cheese sandwiches. To which I say - FEH! A grilled cheese sandwich is bread, butter and cheese, grilled golden brown. Deb understands this. A couple of those melty cheesey babies will set you up for several more hours of pickin’ and grinnin’ – which leads me to my next revelation.

The Generosity of Bluegrass People is Amazing. Again, a truism I already knew about, but reinforced yet again at the Spring Campout. While I was chowing down on Deb’s Golden Cheesey Delights, I was chatting with some fine people, and the talkturned to hip flasks. I’ve had a couple over the years, and they both broke. I don’t mean broke in half, I mean both of them reached a state where they would not reliably contain liquid. Yes, as someone pointed out, a lot leaks out of the hole in the top into my mouth, but that’s part of the design. I’m talking about insidious leaks from tiny fails in the welds (solder joints?) in the flask. Well, a kind lady overheard my ranting and raving and invited me to her camp, where she fished around in her camping box and found a spare flask - still in its box, and gave it to me. Me, a total stranger. I was touched. She told some good jokes, too!

Baseball and Bluegrass ARE inextricably linked. In the field behind where my truck was parked, there was a family reunion going on and they played a spirited game of softball. I watched the game for a while as I ate my lunch, and was joined at some point by Marcos Alvira, and we talked baseball for a while. Marcos is a passionate, knowledgeable and opinionated baseball fan, and I enjoyed our discussion immensely. Folks ask what the connection is between baseball and bluegrass, and two things spring to mind:

* They’re both invented in the US
* They’re both fun to argue about

On the baseball argument front, my pal Ed Alston showed up for the CBA Board Meeting and handed me a note from Larry Baker. It had two words on it: Go Dodgers. There’s just no getting through to some people!

CBA Campouts Are Unique and Wonderful. I have written on this before. The CBA has really hit upon something with these campouts. They provide enough organization to provide a good space for camping and picking, and draw a good crowd, and provide some other activities – for those want to do them, but they hum along with an energy all their own. A ton of credit has to be given to the folks who work behind the scenes for these things (Dave Brace – I’m singling you out!) – they make it look effortless, and that makes the campouts fun and relaxing. I can hardly wait until October!

Posted:  4/20/2011

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