Author: Rhynes, J.D.

Various remembrance's of times past

As I sat here trying to figure out jes what I'd write for this coming Thursday's welcome message, a few lil' random thoughts came to mind, so I figured why not tell 'em whilst I can still remember 'em. Natcherally they include my ol pickin' pal Vern Williams mainly because we were the bestest of friends and spent a lot of time together fer 36 years of our lives.

In the early 70's the duo of Vern and Ray were the very best Bluegrass act on the west coast and as such, they played a lot of shows for the Opry "package show's" that came out of Nashville at that time. Vern related one such story to me after he and Ray "fronted" one of the package shows in Sacramento and Redding, California on successive nights. They were in Redding to do the second show on a Saturday night, and they were in the parking lot of the motel with their band, Luther Riley, on banjo, and Clyde Williamson, on guitar, pickin' a few tunes to get warmed up before going over to the auditorium to play the show. Vern said it was a warm summer evening and they were in the back of the motel playing fer about 10 minutes when he saw one of the second story windows fly open and Little Jimmy Dickens stuck his head out . He yelled out; Dont go anywhere boy's, I'm gonna join y'all! In about one minute Vern said, here come Lil' Jimmy Dickens with his boots, hat ,shirt and coat on, carryin' his big Gibson guitar, and all he had on fer pants was his boxer shorts! Vern said, Jimmy I think you fergot yer britches, to which Jimmy replied; I shore did, I was jes so excited when I hear'd you boy's a'pickin' this good ol' Bluegrass, I figgered I'd get 'em later! I jes didn't want to miss pickin' with y'all! Vern said lil Jimmy told him; Ya know Vern, I really been thinkin' hard about gettin' me a Bluegrass band to play with me on the road. You reckon you boys might be interested? Suffice it to say, that never came to pass, but on that summer evening in Redding, California, Little Jimmy Dickens got to pick with best of the best in California at the time.

Back in the early '70's the Gold Rush town of Coloma, Calif. used to hold a "Gold Discovery Days" celebration every January. It was a one day affair, and it included a fiddle contest so natcherally we would all go jes to jam all day long. The fiddle contest was held in the Grange Hall, so we would all gather out back around a big bonfire and pick and sing till dark. This one particular year, we was enjoying a real hot jam due to a literal plethora of really great fiddlers that joined us when they werent playing in the contest. That was one of the bestest jams ever! I noticed a lady standing next to us enjoying the music, BUT, her eyes looked like she had been eatin' "Loco Weed" as my cowboy pard is wont to say. After one hot number ended she came over to me and introduced herself, and said; Has anyone ever told you that you really resemble Paul Newman? I heard Vern kinda muffle a snicker behind me, and I answered; To be honest with you, that has never happened to me. Well, she continued, you really do resemble him and I would really like to get to know you better. I told her I appreciated her remarks, but I didn't think my wife would like me to do something like that and turned back to the jam session jes as one of the fiddlers kicked off "Wheel Hoss". I could tell Vern was laughing inside, and every time our eyes met he'd laugh out loud. Well, she hung around us all day long till late afternoon, and jes before she left she came over and gave me her phone number and said please call me. As she turned to walk away, I wadded up the bit of paper and pitched it into the fire. Needless to say, Vern never let me fergit that day, and what the "Loco Weed" woman said. For years when I was least expecting it Vern would say; Has anyone ever told you that you look like Paul Newman? Then laugh like hell! The last time he pulled that on me was about two weeks before he "passed over Jordan". I was visiting him in the hospital and we were reminiscing over old times when right out of the blue he sez; Has anyone ever told you tha you look like Paul Newman? Then he laughed like hell fer about 5 minutes. We both agreed that was one of the funniest thangs that we ever got to experience. Vern said, boy have I ever got a lot of mileage out of that one! You sure did ol pal, I jes wish we could do it all over again. Someday when we meet in "the other camp" we will ol pal.
Posted:  5/26/2011

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