Author: Karsemeyer, John

Holidaze Musing

It's that time of the year again. How many of you think that Christmas should last three months? The stores started carrying Christmas items in October. The only things I think you should buy for Christmas in October are a guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, bass, dobro, or strings on lay-away as presents for your significant others (sure, I'm biased). Of course those items are hard to hide from prying eyes. A bass would be tough to wrap, hard to disguise, unless you decorated it and used it as a substitute for a Christmas tree. After all, the bass is cut wood too. If you think that is far fetched, I need to relate that at our band practice last week the guitar player's newly arrived blue-tick hound had a fixed gaze on, and was frantically sniffing, the stand up bass (oh, all that tree-like wood).

Speaking of October, on the thirty-first I went to San Francisco to attend a Halloween party. I go to the big city quite a lot, and to be honest I couldn't really tell the difference between October 31st and every other day. You come across some folks there who march to the beat of a different bass player. The Halloween party there was fun, at least for awhile. Then I got beat up pretty badly. So my advice to you is never go to a Halloween party dressed as a pinata!

So next up is Thanksgiving. That's always an interesting holiday. Friends and relatives come for miles around just to eat more than they're supposed to. But isn't the “Turkey Thursday” a great excuse to do just that? Some people have to be almost dragged to that eating event, because they have to face or interact with people they don't like or agree with. The safest way to “go” is promise yourself not to discuss politics or religion. In any case, it's a good day to let go of the past and interact positively with everybody. Accentuate the positive. Two of my family members who came to Thanksgiving last year are no longer with us. You just never know who you may not see again.

Admittedly I have some reluctance to attend that day of family interaction, but I go anyway. It's about a six hour drive for me, but thanks to ibuprofen it's tolerable. Our get together is in the Sierra foothills, on fifteen acres, where my outlaws (whoops, I mean in-laws) live. About thirty people usually show up, from new-borns to folks in their ninety's. The usual events of the day are often punctuated with some musical instrument playing and singing in a big barn, bringing everyone together in body, mind, and spirit. Bluegrass music on Thanksgiving really makes the day (or any other day). After all, a family or social get together without live music is really just a seminar.

The eating part of the day is pretty good. The food is great, but there is one thing that I don't really enjoy. There are a number of folks there who are considerably older than I, and that relates to a pecking-order that translates to reality on Thanksgiving. The most senior of people get to sit at the big oak table, right next to the turkey. For twenty years I've been going there, and I still have sit at the small card table, way away from the turkey (I can't even see it from the room where I have to sit). How long do I have to keep doing that? I mean, how long can those senior-seniors last? I want to sit at the big table, right next to the cotton-pickin' turkey!

I really don't know what will happen this year, if I'll get promoted to the big table, next to the turkey, or not. If I do, that will be great, and I'll enjoy the euphoria while it lasts. If not, I'll sit at the little card table again.

After that I'll go out on the front porch, sit down, haul out the guitar and play a few tunes while gazing at the flora and fauna of the foot hills, and be really glad that I made it to another family Thanksgiving.

But now, right now on this Saturday, I'm thinking, “How many bluegrass musicians does it take to change a light bulb?” So I call up an old buddy who is almost a walking dictionary regarding all things bluegrass, and he tells me, “Four. One to change it, and three to complain that it's electric.” It's a good day to play some non-electric music. Are you gonna?
Posted:  11/12/2011

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