Sunday, May 12, 2013

This Blog Began Years Ago. . . .

        Mostly, it began in my head as I traveled across I-40 and back home. The bad news is that the road never gets any shorter. The good news is that it never gets any longer either, thank goodness! One has plenty of time to look at the scenery and to think her own thoughts.

        On the westbound side of I-40 on a cliff not far out of Nashville, TN, were two spray-painted sentiments. You probably saw them many times. Chipped away by wind and weather, those notes are now covered by bushes and small trees that sprouted along the edges of the cliff. When I drive by that location, I always wonder if Van still loves Carol. Did she love him? Did they marry, do they have grandchildren now? As for Bill from KY (or a fan of KY), what was significant about '73? Was that the year that he spray-painted the message on the cliff? Did he graduate from KY that year? I'm interested. I would like to know about Van, Carol and Bill. Those two guys risked their lives and a hefty fine as they climbed up to the spot where they left their marks.

       Before I get too far into this story, I need to let you know about the bluegrass music content of this blog. It is revealed partially through my introduction of my friend George and his family. Fans will recognize in this photo one of the finest bluegrass guitarists to ever hit a string! The event here is a book-signing for George and other Mid-State authors. George has a wonderful relationship with the entire human race, and recently he has included an imam and six nuns who are his neighbors. George, his neighbor Sister Bertha, and the imam shared their thoughts over coffee and Key Lime Pie a few days ago. I cannot wait to hear what they each had to say about religion in today's complicated world.

        Approaching the gates of most festivals after a long ride on I-40 and I-30, I would begin to look and listen for jammin' around the festival  park. One fellow I could always identify just from the sound of his banjo is my friend Richard here. Whether he was onstage or sitting on the tailgate of somebody's pickup truck, I could spot his banjo licks anywhere. I knew who it was! Here he is at Turkey Track in Waldron, AR, 'way on over close to the Oklahoma line. The year was 1980, one of the hottest summers on record! Awww, pick it, Rich!

       This tempting huckleberry cheesecake served at Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park is on a splendid table. You can see that for yourself. I'm trying desperately here to segue into "The Splendid Table" on American Public Media with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. I caught her on the radio on a recent Sunday while returning home on where else? I-40. One of her guests to be interviewed was my friend Cary Fowler, who heads up the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The Trust has grain seeds from every corner of the world which are stored at consistently cold temperatures in an ice-covered vault in Svalbard, Norway. The idea is that neither war nor floods nor fire nor famine nor any other catastrophe can disrupt the feeding of countries around the globe, should it become necessary to start over.
Here is Cary Fowler thanking his high school biology teacher, Edna Hatcher Bennett, for instilling in him a deep love for all things scientific. He and his teacher were at dinner in October of 2012 at Pete & Sam's in Memphis, celebrating the 45th anniversary of his high school class. Cary came in from Italy or Germany for the class reunion. Google the Global Crop Diversity Trust or Cary Fowler to learn more about his amazing project. Listen to the podcast of "The Splendid Table" (May 5, 2013) with Cary's interview.

         This pen is a little yellow Bic(R) ballpoint that time has just about 'written' off! It was inexpensive. It never failed. It never left a glob of ink when I began to write. It did its job perfectly. So, of course they don't make them anymore! The Bic(R) or one like it has written down many a grocery list or story which popped into my mind. Even this humble little ballpoint has a connection to bluegrass music. When it dawned on me that suddenly these pens were becoming harder to find with each passing year, I stumbled upon thirteen packages of them, wrapped two to a package (two for 89 cents), in a RoadRunner (now Total, if the name hasn't changed yet again) convenience store near the Strange Family Bluegrass Festival in Texarkana, TX. I bought all thirteen packages! When I opened the package containing this pen, it started writing as soon as I touched it to paper--and this after probably 30+ years. It was just sitting in its package, dutifully awaiting its chance to strut its stuff. You had a good thing going there, Mr. Bic(R).

        There is no way to top this off except with one of the most gorgeous birds ever to land on one of my feeders. The bird on the right is the Red-Headed Woodpecker. It prefers hot pepper suet cakes. The immature bird is shown on the left. The bird spooked and flew off when I got my camera. I had to call upon "Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification" to let you know who stops to feed as I blog and listen to bluegrass music.

       Start your own blog! There is no telling where it will lead you! 

Pick away!