Ray and I took off to Granville to hear bluegrass on Saturday night with our good friends Garth and Terry. The crowd was so big that we had to sit upstairs and peer over the balcony — one time when being short was not to my advantage. I literally sat on the edge of my seat to see over the railing of this old country store from the 1890s. It did not deter the sheer pleasure of seeing three middle-aged men and two young ones smoke their fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and mandolin. Yee haw! That’s pronounced yee ha, as in the first syllable of ha-ha!
The evening had many sweet and encouraging moments that I hope will encourage you.
While the four of us relished the pre-radio show warm up, I began to recognize the young man on the mandolin. He’s John, a homeschool graduate we all knew many years ago. None of us had seen him in years and had no idea ahead of time that he would be playing with the band that night. In between the warm-up and the radio show, John seemed as happy to see us as we were to see him. He was still smiling the same smile he had years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without it.
The bass player is as energetic a bass player as I ever saw. He almost danced in place with that big bass. He’s from nearby Defeated Creek, but from the way he bounces around that bass, I don’t think he’s let it get to him. Two of his groupies were his beautiful wife and their six-week-old baby. She was a brave soul in an old country store on a Saturday night. I never heard a peep out of that baby. I guess bluegrass soothed him, too.
The guitar player was the spokesman for the band and the lead singer. He told us that his father was in the audience, but he told us in that wonderful way that southern men do. He told us his daddy was in the audience.
Garth and Terry and Ray and I stood talking outside our car until the front doors of Sutton General Store were locked for the night. Pretty soon the guitar player made his way to his car parked behind ours. We went on and on about the great show they gave us and he began to tell us a little of his story.
He started playing bluegrass when he was thirteen or fourteen, and he played until he got married,. Though he was offered a position in a popular bluegrass band, he told them no, though they came to his house three weekends in a row to ask him. He decided that was not a life for him and his new wife. He has quietly worked for a communication company for thirty-three years — the same communication company for thirty-three years. When his and his wife’s youngest child graduated from high school, he decided to pull his guitar out again. We complimented his devotion to his children. He told us that he only plays about once a month, “Because I have grandchildren,” he said. “I want to be with them.”
So, last Saturday night I saw a homeschool graduate who was twenty-seven years old and he was smiling. He spends his weeks teaching music lessons at a music store and his weekends playing bluegrass, including a regular television show on RFD TV.
I saw a young bass player and his wife and baby, sticking together on a Saturday night.
I met a man who has worked a steady job faithfully for thirty-three years, who still loves his wife, and who puts his grandchildren over his beloved bluegrass — exactly what he did for those grandchildren’s parents while they were growing up.
That’s just the kind of thing that you’re doing. So, yee haw to you, too, Mama (that’s pronounced yee ha, as in the first syllable of ha-ha, by the way)!
Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence
and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.