Author: Alvira, Marco

Little Things Add Up

Thanksgiving really begins a Holiday season long period of reflection and thanksgiving for all the great blessings in life. Sometimes Americans take for granted how wonderful life has been to them, even in the toughest of times. Maybe Iím a sentimental, sappy guy, but my wife and I enjoy watching reruns of The Waltons. For those of you who do not remember the T.V. show, it centered on a family in rural Virginia struggling with life in the midst of the Great Depression. The core themes of hope, perseverance, and faith in the family pervade each episode.

The show is based on the creatorís life in a country Virginia county during that period. Though we all know that life is not full of happy endings, that are certain values portrayed in that show that resonate with all the folks I know (or, sadly, knew) from that generation. My mom, coming from an Ozark cabin with a kerosene lantern for light, and a water pump outside, always demonstrated dogged determination in the most adverse of times. Her attitude was to put her shoulder to the load and work. My grandpaís dedication to the family meant working twelve-hour days, seven days a week well into his eighties to make sure that even my deadbeat cousins had food on the table. That was a work ethic born of hard times and gratitude for any opportunity to make an honest buck. In his word, there was room for a ďliar, cheat or thief.Ē

Sometimes when weíre counting the big blessings like hearth, food, and liberty, we forget some of the small blessingsóthe sum of which, add up to something big. I canít let a year end without reflecting all the little things bluegrass that add up to a big part of my life. One of bluegrassí mysteries, for which I am grateful, is how one can put a toe in the waters of the CBA bluegrass community and then find oneself immersed in friendship. I donít need to explain to the visitors of this web page how a handshake and a cup of coffee with someone you just met can lead to a whole new circle of picking partners and a some new, close friends.

Just a few weeks ago, Diana Donnely, Dave Nielson, and I were in the CBA Radio studio (O.KÖ. KCSSí studio, but we think itís ours) and we were visited by Elida and Tom Ickes. Iím looking forward to seeing them tonight at the concert with Rob Ickes and Jim Hurst. I imagine Iíll see Ken Reynolds, Rick, and all my other CBA friends who live in that neck of the woods. Just a week before, I was sitting in the beautiful home of Rich and Debra Ferguson at a Thanksgiving picking party. Two interesting things happened there: Rich and I discovered that we have a few non-bluegrass friends in common, and I met a bunch of new folks who picked the heck out of their instruments while baring broad smiles. Yup, each year my life has grown incrementally with friendship and Iíve become just that much richer since jumping into the CBA bluegrass community.

Sometimes itís easy to loose sight of the little things we do that might seem trivial to oneself, but might mean the world to another. The other day at Starbucks, a young man with dark, brooding eyes stopped me to say hello. It took a minute, but then I remembered that he had been a student at a school I had once taught twenty years before. He wanted to show me some photos of his artwork that was currently showing at a gallery. Art had become his passion and calling. After the last photo, he reminded how two decades earlier, I had paused in the hall to comment how he seemed like a kid with a purpose and a mission. That had stuck with him as he pursued art. Sometimes I cringe at what I might have said to a kid that could have inadvertently hurt as much as helped.

So be positive, count your blessings, and donít be afraid to give a blessing. Those little things in life can sometimes accumulate to something quite big.

Put another way, watching a board meeting is like watching a football game, while being a board member is like being on the field, shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the team, pushing toward the goal line.

What is evident, either way, is that we have a group of people dedicated to achieving the goals of the association, even as the goal line seems to move away as itís neared, challenging us to greater accomplishments.

I invite you to observe a board meeting Ė a couple of times a year theyíre held at campouts Ė and watch your leadership at work.

I urge you to communicate with the board members and offer your suggestions for enhancing the associationís efforts.

And I urge you to volunteer to work at a CBA event. There are opportunities for all and youíll meet some nice folks.

On another note, if you havenít done it, NOW is a good time to make your reservations for The Great 48 Hour Jam (Bakersfield, Jan. 6-7). Details are available elsewhere on the home page. Youíve never had this much fun with your clothes on!
Posted:  12/4/2011

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