Author: Ramos, Jean

No Expectations

Have you ever noticed that some of the most pleasant and fun experiences you’ve had were those that just “happened?” They weren’t planned, but the circumstances were just right, there was the right combination of people, the timing was perfect, weather was great, price was right, it just “happened” and you have some lasting memories of the event. You couldn’t reproduce it if you tried. You couldn’t capture the feelings you had on film or video if you wanted to.

We had not planned on going to the Susanville Bluegrass Festival because we had already spent a week at Grass Valley. An aging parent required attention, all our clothes needed washing, our garden needed to be checked on, the garbage needed to be put out…we had nothing but excuses for not heading to Susanville so we came home from Grass Valley and dove right in to all the tasks at hand.

As many of you know I’m on the CBA Message Board everyday and my Facebook Friends know I have to leave a daily “Trail of Bread Crumbs.” In fact after leaving a comment on the Message Board recently, one of my CBA “brothers” sent an e-mail that said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?” My first thought was, he must be on there as much as I am to know how often I am posting, but I digress.

Suffice it to say, I am constantly in touch with many of you during the week so I saw several posts on this site as well as Facebook about the goings on early in the week before the Susanville Festival. I began to get bummed out about being home while everyone was up there jamming and having all kinds of fun without us. By Wednesday, I couldn’t take it anymore, and it didn’t help that I was getting e-mails and other encouragements to get up there. I said to Terry, “You know we have all our business taken care of here, there’s no reason we can’t go to Susanville.” Bless his heart, his response was, “Well load up and let’s get out of here!” We hurriedly packed enough things in the camper to take us through Sunday and off we went.

I started taking pictures as we passed through the Sierras, heading towards Reno, posting them on Facebook, (Hansel’s sister Gretel strikes again) and I was getting comments from friends like Pat Calhoun, Gene Bach and John Senior saying they were happy we were coming. The weather was perfect, the trip was pleasant and the welcome we received from Cynthia Bach at the gate made us glad we came. We got a wonderful camping spot, close to the stage, LB’s Road Dog Stand, Michelle the coffee vendor, and we had the Calhoun’s, Kirkpatrick’s and the Anderson Family for neighbors. It was starting to “happen.”

Pat said that the jamming tent across from us always consists of men; we ought to have an “All Girls Jam” at her place that evening. So that’s how things started and got better and better from that point on.

Later that evening, I was walking around looking for another jam and ran into Lou McClenahan. He took me over to Ernie Hunt’s camp where he had already stowed his bass and I was introduced to a bunch of people. I had met Ernie before but had not jammed with him. His good friend Jesse House was there and they were singing a lot of Good Old Country songs, so I knew I had “happened” onto the right place.

We attended most of the stage performances and let me tell you, there was a lot of talent to go through there. The Andersons, Snap Jackson and Knock on Wood, James King, Central Valley Boys, and of course, Blue Highway as well as several others. Our friend Snap is not afraid to mix things up a little; he had his fiddle player’s girlfriend accompany them for a number on the French horn! He recently quipped on Facebook that she is the IBMA French Horn Player of the Year.

We had the pleasure of listening to the Anderson’s practice right outside our kitchen window; they just get better and better as their voices mature. One afternoon, I heard them singing, “Calling all Angels,” and there was beautiful Dobro music accompanying them, I looked out to see Rob Ickes sitting in their camp giving Daisy a few pointers on the Dobro! How cool is that to have the IBMA Dobro player of the year (for several years) playing outside your window? And what a thrill that must have been for the Anderson Family!

When it came time for them to perform, Daisy blew everyone away with her rendition of “Ruby!” Even James King took notice and while he was on stage for one of his sets, he spotted her out walking someone’s dog and pointed her out and said “The future of bluegrass is looking good!” She looked up at him and gave him one of her winning smiles and he said, “Honey, would you like to come up here and sing a song with us?” Without hesitation, she handed that old black dog off to the nearest person and ran up on the stage. Her folks were busy getting their camp trailer ready to leave and were unaware of what Daisy was up to until someone ran and told them! About that time you could hear her; “Rubyyyyyyyyyy!” “Rubyyyyyyyyy! Honey, are you mad at your mannnnnnnnn!” The crowd went wild! James and his band members were grinning from ear to ear, and Daisy’s mom and dad came a running! I was able to capture the moment on film but a picture doesn’t do it justice! Later, Daisy told her sister Paige that she was shaking like a Chihuahua; if she was it didn’t show! It was another one of those things that wasn’t planned, it just “happened.”

We went up to the Susanville Festival on a whim, we had no expectations, we had no responsibilities except to just go and enjoy. Gene and his team of volunteers did a great job of making everyone feel welcome and we got the feeling that the most important thing on their mind was to make sure everyone had their needs met and had a good time. It is not a big festival but the talent was first rate, an eclectic mix of the traditional and edgy, something for everyone.

Just when we were thinking about going home, Terry came and said, “Hey, we’ve got an invitation to go up to Jesse House’s Fishing Camp at Eagle Lake.” “There’ll be a bunch of folks there jamming and fishing and pot lucking for a few days.” Once again I started giving him all sorts of reasons why we probably should just get on home, this time he was ahead of me. He had all the details worked out, one of which included a walk to the shopping center across the road to buy more underwear. It’s not everyday you go into Walmart and you meet up and have a conversation with James King over the “Fruit of The Looms,” but that’s what happened, (and that’s a fact with my hand up).

We look forward to attending the Kings River Bluegrass Festival in September. Kelly and Marcos are hard at work, planning and working out the details for a fun filled event. Why don’t you all come on down to Sanger and see what “happens?” You won’t be disappointed.

Posted:  7/24/2011

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