Thursday, August 15, 2013

Who Will Watch the Baileys' Homeplace?
  Nothing much can trigger my memory faster than thoughts of family and home. I mean, it all comes flying back in there in just a second! Today, while e-mailing with a cousin about things that trigger thoughts of family and home, I was transported right back there to childhood. While my grandparents have been gone since the mid-1950's, the memories are very fresh and very precious. I invite you to read my list of random thoughts and then create your own list.
Here is the house and here are some precious memories (how they linger!) of times gone by. It's tough to create such a list of memories without thinking of Laurie Lewis' beautiful song, "Who Will Watch the Homeplace" (Kate Long/Feeny Feemster Music, BMI). Sometimes I can listen to the song all the way through and sometimes it's just too much.
  • Grandmother walking up the front hall to open the door to greet us
  • The door itself, handmade by Granddaddy (I want that door!)
  • The smell of the house--only one other house ever smelled that good (the home of a classmate)
  • Grandmother letting me brush her hair or powder her face (neither of which needed improvement)
  • Early version of a TV (one particular old Ford driving by the house could send the picture into all kinds of lines and static until the car went on down the road)
  • The Bailey rose garden (on the tour for locals on their Sunday afternoon drives)
  • The mud room (Granddaddy had his instructions as to where to go first when coming inside)
  • The heavily-laden dining table with Grandmother's biscuits and home-made pear preserves (with pear slices the size of a biscuit half)
  • The wood-burning stove in the kitchen prior to the electric model
  • The planks from Granddaddy's lumber mill laid end-to-end all the way out back to his garden
  • The noon whistle at Granddaddy's lumber mill that sent everyone home to "dinner" in the middle of the day (the mill whistle could be heard all over town)
  •  The chicken coop and chickens out back ( I still collect blown-glass settin' eggs just to remember)
  •  The small kitchen table covered with a white table cloth after Sunday dinner (great for lifting and peeking in to see what quick snack awaits)
  • The front sidewalk where I learned to skate (skates that clipped onto the sides of my street shoes, requiring my skate key, which I still have)
  • My little flower pot that I made from mud at my grandparents' house (Granddaddy didn't recognize it as a flower pot and broke it up; Grandmother fussed at him)
  • The "little brown building" out back prior to indoor plumbing
  • Running out the front door to the sidewalk near the street to watch the trains go by downtown
  • Some great wicker rockers with their comfortable rocking noises, that I haven't seen anywhere else
  • The corn crib, smoke house, and one-car garage all in one structure (In my grandfather's shed, there were hundreds of tools. . . .)
  • The smell of fresh-cut lumber at the W. H. Bailey Lumber Company (at the edge of my yard, a recently installed telephone pole with creosote in it comes close to that same smell on a hot summer day)
  • On a day when the lumber mill was quiet, Granddaddy would turn on the big shuttle that transported giant logs to the giant saw (which was not running) and let me ride back and forth a few times
The family that resides now in the Bailey homeplace is taking very good care of the house and the grounds around it. They have been so gracious to invite my cousin and me in for a look around. That was a special visit!

Get started on your list. . . .

Pick away!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

George Banjos in "Banjo Newsletter" Review

       What a treat to read about TOM GEORGE and his George Banjos in the August 2013 issue of "Banjo Newsletter" (Vol XL, No. 10). His friends in West Tennessee have known about Tom and his lovely wife, CAROL, for quite a long time. They are favorites around the Memphis Area! Tom is an active participant in the regular Friday night Collierville, TN, Historic Town Square Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam when he is not building a banjo.
       The most recent issue of the popular newsletter contained a delightful article written by Dave Cannon. Dave visited the George's antebellum home in Somerville, TN, in order to prepare his article. 
       Tom's new apprentice who joined him in 2007 is another well-known local musician, CHRISTIAN STANFIELD. It is important for younger luthiers like Christian to learn from seasoned veterans. Christian has experience in bluegrass and old-time string band music, and he's added the building process to his skills. 
       Tom George has been about this banjo-building business since the 1960's, when he began  disassembling and reassembling banjos to see how they work. He got around to building his first banjo in 1970.
       Cannon's article displayed photos of Tom George, Christian Stanfield, and several George banjos: a plexiglass, a six-string, the Flour banjo and the Princess banjo. Tom and Christian produce an average of about one banjo per month, and they can build a banjo to suit the customer's particular needs.
       Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, TN, is the home of the old-time string band music festival known as "BREAKIN' UP WINTER," which is held annually on the first weekend of March. It was there that Dave Cannon spotted pictures of the plexiglass banjo, and he was fascinated. He was smitten with the look, feel, and sound of the George banjo.
       You may wish to find out more about "Banjo Newsletter," George Banjos, and about "Breakin' Up Winter". See the following links for information.

"Banjo Newsletter":
George Banjos:
Breakin' Up Winter:

Pick away!
Betty Westmoreland

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bluegrass & Old-Time Music
in Collierville, TN

Pickin' at the Gazebo 8 2 2013
Pickin' by the monument 8 2 2013
Pickin' at the Gazebo 8 2 2013
Almost dark-still pickin' 8 2 2013
       No matter where you are in the towns and counties around Collierville and Shelby County, TN, you're never too far from some great free entertainment!
       The Collierville Historic Town Square Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam is a regular Friday night event that kicks off around 6:30-ish PM. Pickers and fans gather at the square from mid-April to mid-October for some great fair-weather jammin' for all skill levels.
#1 Fan: Missy the Bernese Mountain Dog
       From mid-October to mid-April, we are so blessed to be able to go indoors to the Collierville United Methodist Church at 454 W. Poplar (east of Walmart). Join us anytime! No matter where we are, you're welcome to pick or just grin and pat your hands! We're all-acoustic! No amplifiers, please!
County Line Old-Time Jam 8 4 2013
Pickin' at the Gazebo 8 2 2013
       The County Line Old-Time Jam meets on the first Sunday of each month from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 106 Walnut Street, just off the Square and behind Hewlett & Dunn. All skill levels are welcome to attend. Even if you don't play an instrument, you're welcome to come and enjoy the music. The jam is all-acoustic and the no-amplifier policy is strictly enforced. 
       The County Line Old-Time Jam will not meet during the Labor Day weekend. The next County Line jam is scheduled for October 6, 2013.
County Line Old-Time Jam 8 4 2013
County Line Jam 8 4 2013