Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two little brothers once again. Different cute names, different types of haircuts. One set wore Wal-Mart brands; tonight's wore North Face. One set, down in the Ozarks a couple of months ago, brought a smoking grandmother who didn't play; these khakied kids' professor father hammed along with them. Two fiddler boys again. They all sounded awful, but they were cute and hopeful. They'll improve. Are they following me?

The jam session was less than a mile from my house and so, for once, I proclaimed my identity as a picker. Usually, down home, I'm known as (My Dad's Name)'s daughter, and I just follow along, proud, proud to be so because everyone likes him, and he's talented on multi-instruments, and he has twinkly eyes and deep dimples. He even has a Viking-like name which makes it more impressive to be (My Dad's Name)'s daughter. We enter the bluegrass court, and the respect hushes the warriors-muses and their maidens. Not really, but, you know, possibly.

So tonight in a basement, I, sole female, joined the group of boys and men and retrieved my mandolin and song/chord list. One fancy mandolinist barely paid attention to me after he saw that I only wanted to demonstrate backup. Going solo was too scary, and probably too accomplished at this point. The men were fairly quiet, an occassional quip in between selections, mainly lost in the tunes, burrowed, seeking a tap root within and without an essential chord progression, or pick-and-string-reaction -- it was this lostness which seemed quite familiar. Many days, a lost father, staring out the window, hands rolling, mind attuned far-far-away. These tunes are rather old, hearkening back to the Celtic days when we gathered under pavilions with our banners posted, or by our mud homes, outside under a bramble, perhaps, dreaming, finding.

An hour and a half went by, and my hand resembled an arthritic sufferer at the end. I've not chopped that much before.

We, strangers, at first, were bonded by the unwinding of melodic twine. I didn't notice too much that I was the only woman. For me, that is a good sign that I'll most likely return and resume a place beside the squawking boys who follow me down the lane, appearing from the land , the green hills of yesteryear, that never die. No more a rank stranger.

To the remaining men I called, "Goodbye, boys!" And they said, "Come back again!"

Outside the stars winked in time and bid me adieu, too, as I carried my case to the car.

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