Author: Ramos, Jean

Good Medicine

You never know where an inspiration for a Welcome Column will come from. Those of us, who write, are always on the look out for subject matter. I went to the pharmacy today to refill a prescription. I’ve been thinking about the medicines many of us take; prescription, over the counter, herbals and natural remedies. We have medicines to speed up our hearts, lower our blood pressure, relieve pain, alter our moods, and help us sleep, cure diseases and treat a variety of symptoms. Some medicines are hard to swallow, don’t taste so good, and have unpleasant side effects.

The Fall Camp-Out in Colusa, however, was a dose of Good Medicine for Terry and me. We arrived on Monday and were warmly greeted by Doctor David Brace and his trusty assistant, Randy Shelton. A soft rain was falling but it didn’t dampen our spirits. The Calhouns, Yeakles, Wilburns and Terry and Sally (from England) all arrived around noon. The first jam was held in Pat and George’s RV, you might call it a musical defibrillation, the jump-start I’ve needed.

On Tuesday, we woke up to a beautiful day; the sun had returned and brought a few more campers into the fairgrounds. One of the highlights of this camp-out was having my sister Patricia and her husband Richard spending the week camped with us. I had visits also from two cousins and their wives. They all enjoyed the music and were delighted to meet my CBA “Family.” I’ve been so lonesome for family, and these visitors were a healing balm for my spirits.

Randy Shelton, a fairly new CBA member, is such an inspiration to me. I saw him at the Susanville Festival; he was sitting on the sidelines just listening to a bunch of us jamming in Ernie Hunt’s camp. Next, I met him at Plymouth but this time he had a very nice guitar and he had learned a few chords and was strumming along on some of the easier songs. He had been practicing with the Abbott’s Toneway material. By the time the Fall Camp-Out arrived, he had a guitar, banjo and fiddle and on Tuesday, he made a quick trip over to Cloverdale to buy a dobro from Ernie. He has made great strides with his picking and jammed day and night, and the only time he seemed to rest was when he helped David Brace at the gate or when he was out taking photographs. He is a wonderful photographer, be watching the Gallery, I think he will be sending Ken some photos to post.

It did my heart good to see Rick Cornish walk into our camp carrying his fiddle. When I heard the first few lines of the “Milk Cow Blues,” I knew he was finally on the mend. It turns out that he had been taking some “bad medicine,” which caused all his misery for the past several months.

As I do at most CBA events, I made new friends at the camp-out. Many of you may have met Terry and Sally, the couple from England. They attended the Kings River Festival and joined the CBA while there. They came to Colusa and were a delightful addition to many of the jams; more good medicine. That was the first time I’ve ever heard the Banks of the Ohio sung with an English accent.

I got to jam with a couple guys named Dan from Napa. One of them owns a music store and gave me a cool guitar pick. It’s rough like a cat’s tongue, and won’t slip or turn around in your sweaty fingers. I had many chances to use it. One jam that stands out in my mind was in Diana and Dave’s camp. What a talented group of singers and musicians. Another fellow, named Paul hosted some fun jams every night in front of his Airstream trailer. It was my pleasure to sing “Moonlight and Skies” for my friend Bob Baumert in one of these jams. Bob is a Bluegrass Treasure.

It was great to see Mikki at Colusa. As most of you know, she is enduring chemotherapy and facing surgery the end of November. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She said that “being with her friends and playing music, was the best kind of medicine.” She joined the Pine Ridge Band for one song on stage Saturday night. Incidentally, they put on a great show.

Some of you may have read on the Message Board that I was going to hold a “Book Sale” at the camp-out. Actually I brought six boxes of books and left a jar there for donations to benefit the Kids on Bluegrass. My initial goal was to get rid of some books. I believe I came home with more books than I took; it seems that others wanted to contribute to the effort and donated books also. That would come under the category of a contagion of “good will.” Thanks to the donors. Speaking of kids, it seems that there were very few in attendance at this camp-out. In fact, I think the dogs out-numbered the kids by quite a bit.

Once again, CBA held a drawing for the instrument raffle on Saturday Night. Once again, I spent lots of money and came home with some very expensive “book marks,” I’m happy for those who won though. Sharon Bailey won a nice mandolin and Carl Pagter’s son won the beautiful Martin Guitar.

Our new Board of Directors was announced on Saturday night also. I extend my congratulations to each board member and extend my sincere thanks and appreciation for the time and effort they will put forth in fulfilling the mission of promoting and preserving Bluegrass, Old Time and Gospel Music.

As I stated before, the Fall Camp-Out in Colusa was a dose of good medicine, the side effects were all desirable…well maybe not the sleep deprivation but there’s a remedy for that. ‘Til next time, I hope you can make time to learn some new tunes, memorize some new songs and practice, practice, practice.

Posted:  10/23/2011

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