Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our new grandson Baxter is born

Well just when we thought we weren't going to get to have any more grand kids our youngest son found the most perfect person and two years ago they were married.  Now we have been blessed with grandchild number 12 born March 23, 2013 at approximately 7:50AM.  His name is Baxter Richard Redman and here's his birth story. 
I've been in the delivery room or at the hospital when all but one of my grand kids was born, and so Baxter's due date was March 29th and my younger brother Larry was getting re-married on March 23rd.  John and I faced a decision, do we miss my brother's wedding to make sure we were down in Utah plenty early so as to not miss this birth or do we make plans and attend my brothers wedding and just hope that we could make it in time for this little guys birth. 
We really love the gal that my brother was marrying and we didn't want to miss their special day either, but I also didn't want to take a chance and miss this babies birth. 
Well our decision became easy when the Spirit spoke to me as my mom called a few weeks before we were making our plans, and with sadness in her voice pleaded with me that we might be able to help them to get to the wedding. You see my dad was turning 86 on April 1st this year and even though he's doing well and maybe would be plenty fine to drive clear to the Seattle area from Billings to get to the wedding, he's also starting to feel the pangs of age and so it's slightly harder for him to navigate the traffic of those busy interstates.  I felt my mom's trepidation as she visited with me and said that she sure wished they could just drive to our house and then jump in with us to get to the wedding, then continue on with us in order to meet their new great grandson hoping that he would be born shortly after we would arrive there. 
I knew from the whisperings of the Spirit what I needed to do and so after visiting with my husband John the decision was easy for us and we elected to make sure we attended the wedding and help my parents to be able to get there.  We would just hope that the birth of Baxter would wait for us to arrive.
My parents arrived here at our house on Monday the 18th of March and we left for the wedding on the morning of the 19th so we could have a few visiting days beforehand.  Well sure enough the night before their wedding at around 7PM March 22nd, I received a text message from my son that they were headed to the hospital.  Secretly I hoped that it would be a false alarm and that she would wait a couple of days to deliver, but I also was afraid that if this were the case we could risk that he wouldn't be born while we were there and we'd have to come home before his arrival, so on one hand I was glad, on the other sad that I was missing out on being at the hospital with them.  However I never had second thoughts on our choice as I knew the whisperings of the Spirit to be true and I was glad that we had made the choice to be at my brother's wedding.  There were no regrets with this choice at all.  I guess I had to accept that I can't have everything and so I was still very glad that I had made the choice to help my parents get to the wedding, and equally importantly I had made the decision to be at their wedding also.
Now with all this excitement, I called my son and told him to keep texting me all night long to keep me informed of her progress and the moment that I was a new grandma again.  So all night I laid in bed and answered texts every few hours.  Finally at 3:30 AM my son sent me the text that the doctor had come in to deliver our new grandson.  A few hours went by and finally it was 7:30 in the morning and still no call or text saying that we had our grandson here.  Finally I couldn't stand it anymore so I sent off a text asking if he had been born and my son sent me just a one word answer.  "Pushing"   I guess poor Ashleigh had to push almost 3 hours but finally at around 7:50 AM we had a healthy grandson. 
We got up and gave the news to the rest of the family and then got ready to head out the door for the wedding. 
Now looking back our grandson and my brother's anniversary are going to be on the same day so I'll easily remember their anniversary each year. 
After the wedding we hurried on our way to get to Utah and see him while they were still in the hospital but that wasn't to be quite so fast.  As we drove the route that was the fastest way to get there suddenly I got an e-mail inquiring about a 5th wheel camper that we'd had for sale for the last 2 months.  This man just had to see it today and only today and he was going to buy it, so if we could just come home for him to look at it we could consider it sold.  Once again we had to make a choice.  We needed to get this camper sold so we elected to drive 5 hours out of our way with my poor parents having to ride longer to get back to our house here so we could show it to this man.  We had the promise that he wanted it though.  We hurried home to show it to him and finally after saying yes he wanted it he decided that he wanted heated water tanks since he would be living in it even during winter months, so after leaving here telling us he'd be back in the morning with the check, he called to say that he wasn't going to buy it!  I was so disgusted because now I lost a day, and spent the gas money and time to get to go and see my grandson.  No one should ever get in the way of a grandma trying to get to see her new grandson.  I pitty the poor fool!
Now the next morning we got back in our Jeep and headed south once again and after spending a night in Pocatello so that we could see our kids living there and also pick up our 11 year old grand daughter to take her with us, we finally arrived to see little Baxter at 3 days old. 
We went to visit them 4 times in the week and took dinner with us so that neither of them would have to cook for us and we could stay longer to hold and love on him each time. 
We love our newest grandson.  Making the right choice to help my parents made it possible for my dad and mom to meet him and hold him and since he's named my maiden name for his first name it was quite an honor for my dad to get to be there and see his names sake.  We were able to get pictures of them holding him, and it's so wonderful to have this new little guy in our family.  He's so cute and looks just like his daddy.  As I watched them be parents my heart swelled with joy and pride to know that my son and his beautiful bride are going to be such good parents to this grandson.  Seeing our kids doing what's right and living a righteous life raising their children in the Lord is the greatest blessing to me as a mom.  We love you Baxter Richard Redman.  Welcome to our family. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sometimes kids can teach us adults

There's one thing in life we can all depend on, and that's that trials will certainly come our way. How we choose to react or deal with these trials is always our own choice.  I know many friends who have more trials than is humanly possible to imagine.  I wonder why Heavenly Father has given them or allowed them to go through so many trials, but I see that they are very strong people and they teach me many life lessons as I help them. 
This past week I had a relatively mild trial and I feel like I certainly could have passed the test better than I did.  I know that this is an area of my life that needs to be constantly worked on.  I'm generally a positive person, and I have a natural easy going personality so I don't usually take things personally or get upset at things that aren't important in the eternities.  I definitely am not a worrier, to the point that it bothers my husband that I don't worry enough.
Well this past week something happened, nothing major in the scheme of life, but just something that was a trial for me.  Here's how it all unfolded....
A few weeks ago I was asked by the leader of my band Gravel Road if I could get some of the kids I teach and also our girls band, The Foggy Mtn Girls, together to perform with Gravel Road for a benefit concert up in Lewiston.  Everyone who knows me, knows just how much I love to play bluegrass and so I was very excited after this Fall's dry spell to finally get to play a show again.  I was really excited that the kids I teach and who I've pulled into their own band were going to get to play it too. We've named their band The Bluegrasshoppers and they were all very excited that they were going to get to play it too, and especially because they were going to get to play the show all by themselves and without me playing with them. 
All was going well and I had spent extra time working with the kids over the last two weeks.  For an entire week four of these kids were staying out here next door to us with their grand parents and I had gone over every night for four evenings and worked with those kids.  Then I worked with the two guitar players who are brothers and finally on Monday a few days before we were to do the show on Saturday, I went to town and worked with all the kids to have them ready for their show.  We practiced working the mic, how to introduce their band, where they should stand in regards to the mic stand and then how to feed in and who would be taking breaks on each song.  The kids sounded so good and we had worked so hard. 
Then on Wednesday came the phone call.  The two guitar playing boys' mom was on the phone.  Both boys had come down with the flu even though they had been given the flu shot this season.  I was devastated, and I just knew that my prayers were going to be answered and the boys were going to be all better by Saturday, so I didn't allow myself to worry about it, but I know that my disappointment was very apparent to their mom, and this is where I felt like I failed the trial.  I was so busy practicing with both Gravel Road and The Foggy Mtn Girls over the next few days, but in my mind I was just positive that the boys were going to be all better and able to play come Saturday. 
When Friday came and their mom who was now getting sick with it too told me that as of that day if they weren't a lot better by the following day they wouldn't be playing, I know now that my voice must have given away my feelings.  The following day I phoned their house and spoke to the oldest boy who's eleven years old.  He informed me with his sad voice that they weren't going to be able to be there and once again I'm sure he detected my disappointment, because an hour later their dad called me to explain that they felt like the boys were still contagious and that they didn't want to spread this bug to the other people at the show.  The poor dad I'm sure had to build up courage to call me.  I could tell by his voice that it was very hard for him to make that call, and I knew that I certainly could have handled this trial better.  I felt so sad and guilty for how I had obviously been less sensitive to the poor kids and their trial, and realized how selfish I was to have even let them feel any of my disappointment.  The Holy Ghost whispered to me in my heart that if I was this disappointed imagine how the poor boys must have felt. 
I've learned a valuable lesson, about me being selfish in my wants for the kids to the point that it made those poor kids feel even worse than they should have had to feel.  I always hope that I'll do better next time when such trials come my way but the truth is that I don't seem to remember these lessons until after the fact.  I want to do better and I hope to someday learn these valuable lessons.  I guess I just have such a passion for bluegrass music and I have had so many great blessings in my life through my music so I want everyone else to feel this in their lives too, but I need to step back and make sure that my exuberance doesn't cause me to make choices that are counter productive to ultimate goal with my teaching.
I ended up playing guitar with the kids and yes it was a disappointment to the rest of the kids in their little band, but no it wasn't the end of the world.  Life will go on and there will be other times for them to get to play together. 
The Bluegrasshoppers
Trials are inevitable but how we deal with them is up to us.  We can learn lessons and grow through them or we can fail them it's our choice.  I hope that the next time I have a trial, I'll pass the test a little bit better. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

MacKenzy's baptism

I felt like I needed to write a few words in here tonight and express my thoughts of the events these past few days. 
We were able to go to Missoula to attend and participate in our 8 year old grand daughter MacKenzy Best's baptism.  This past year has been a lot of ups and downs for this little girl as her parents separated and divorced.  She and her brothers have had a lot of traumatic events as their lives were changed in a split moment decision.  I felt the great love of our Heavenly Father for us and for my daughter Gina, MacKenzy, Jimmy, Cody, Zachary and Jim this weekend, as we were able to be there for her baptism and feel of His spirit healing our hearts and teaching us through His unconditional love.  I volunteered to play the piano for the service and John, her grandpa, my husband, was asked to speak about baptism.  We have felt a lot of deep sorrow over the events that this little girl and our other grand children have had to deal with, but their love for their parents was very evident.  John gave a wonderful heartfelt talk about baptism and I played two songs for the service, "When I Am Baptized," and "I'm trying to be Like Jesus."   Those Primary songs that we sing with the children in our church are so touching to my soul that I can't sing or play them without crying and feeling the Spirit so strong each time.  They just touch me deeply and I felt it a privilege that I was able to play two of them for her. 
After her baptism we all went out to dinner with her other grand parents and both our daughter and Jim her dad.  Everyone is friendly and loving towards each other and this has made it so much better for our grand kids.  Once again I was taught through the Spirit. 
Today as we attended church we had a lesson on showing kindness and how we should always do this to all people no matter what the circumstances.  We need not judge but we should encourage better choices when those around us make mistakes.  It allowed me to think, ponder, and reflect about this past year and the events that happened this weekend.  It gave me the opportunity realize how I treat other people especially my own family members, and how I've judged the events of this past year with my kids. Today as I listened to this lesson I realized that Heavenly Father knows each one of us, and is compassionate when we make mistakes. He was cementing those lessons I had already learned earlier in the weekend.  I know I am to show love and treat others as Heavenly Father treats me even in difficult situations.  Heavenly Father healed me through the gift of this weekend and the lesson today.  We must be as innocent as a child and my grand kids are pure and full of this love that the Savior has taught us about. 
I have had a hard time forgiving my daughter and son-in-law for the decisions that they made which resulted in the hurt that came to our grand kids.  Today's lesson taught me and has given me the knowledge and tools to forgive and to help her to "start over" in choosing better choices.  After this weekend I have felt the Spirit and it's taught me to forgive and to help both my daughter and my grand kids.  I have learned this day how to be a better mom and grandma, and have been given a gift from Heavenly Father, the gift of knowledge about how he would have me do this and live my life better. 
Once a year our church has a Sunday where the children of Primary age, (3-12) are allowed to present the entire Sacrament meeting (church) program.  Today was that day and as the children sang, I was touched, and tonight my heart is full.  As the song that I played at the baptism was also one sang today it says,

"I'm trying to be like Jesus,
I'm following in His ways, 
Trying to love as He did,
In all that I do and say, 
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

Love one another as Jesus loves you,
Try to show kindness in all that you do, 
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.

I'm trying to love my neighbor,
I'm learning to serve my friends,
I'll watch for the day of gladness
When Jesus will come again,
I try to remember the lessons he taught,
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts saying

Love one another as Jesus loves you,
Try to show kindness in all that you do,
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.  

My grand kids, Cody, MacKenzy, Zachary, Jimmy

MacKenzy is baptized by her father Jim.

My daughter Gina, MacKenzy's mom and MacKenzy. Baptized this day, November 9th, 2012

The family someday to be together again is my prayer.

I have been blessed to teach myself piano and now I get to use this skill to play for my grand kids and special family and church events. Today I got to play for MacKenzy's baptism. 
I realize that if I live my life as this song says, I'll be a better person each day and a better mom, wife, grandma to all I meet each day.  I have felt of His love for me this weekend and I know that I can do better and show that love each day to all of my family and friends.  The lessons I learned and the spirit I have felt these past few days, has taught me well.  I truly want to try to be like Jesus and I hope that I can always remember those things that He has taught me the last few days.  I love all my children and grand children and I need not judge but instead I need to encourage, serve and guide with love. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Assoc.) WOB (World Of Bluegrass Week)

Well once again it's been a little while since I've posted on here and I want to take this moment to write about my recent trip to Nashville and the IBMA's World of Bluegrass, WOB conference.  It's important that I write my thoughts down while my feelings and emotions are fresh in my mind,  so today is the day.
I'll start by saying that I truly believe that my Heavenly Father has blessed me through this bluegrass music that I love so much.  I own good instruments, I've taught many people and especially many kids, (close to 300 I think) and I've had life experiences that are so numerous, I couldn't begin to talk about them all.  I feel that He knows me personally and has chosen to bless me with these many gifts. 
Today I want to write my feelings down, as I have just recently returned from Nashville and once again been blessed to be able to attend the World Of Bluegrass conference put on by the IBMA, (International Bluegrass Music Assoc).  This is a huge conference attended by people from all over the world who play bluegrass, but of course mainly people from right here in America.  There were small numbers of people from Australia, Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and many other countries.  
I started going to this conference back eleven years ago when it was being held in Louisville, Kentucky and then have been able to go all but two of the years since it moved to Nashville, which has been eight years now.  If my math is correct that's nine years that I've gotten to go.  This conference is held the last week of September each year, and goes the entire week beginning with a business portion of the conference from Monday through Thursday and ending with a Fan Fest show Friday, Saturday, and gospel Sunday morning performances by several bands.  It includes seminars, luncheons, and an exhibition hall full of fun vendors.
I used to earn my money to get here by selling pizza at the Missoula fair and so each year five days of hard work more than earned my way, but since our retirement four years ago, now I have to teach lessons and save like crazy to afford it each year. 
Now with all this preface I want to talk about this years trip to Nashville and the IBMA's WOB conference. 
The week before I was to fly out my husband John and I had planned a trip to Billings to see my parents who are getting up in age, and the plan was for John to stay there at their home while I went on my Nashville trip.  He was going to supervise a concrete project they had planned for their house.  We drove over there and I left him behind as I drove myself back home to catch the plane, up in Lewiston, for Nashville. He was to drive their motor home back to our house when we were both through and that ended up with a whole story in itself that I won't go into here. 
This was a perfect plan and so all was well.  I drove home on Thursday and stopped in Hamilton, Mt to see my sister and her family overnight then continued home on Friday.  After doing all my wash and packing I was ready to fly out early Sunday morning so off to Lewiston I went, very excited for the week ahead.  My plane flew into Salt Lake City, Utah and then to Nashville.  I had decided to only take my mandolin with me this year instead of the usual mandolin and guitar.  It was an experiment to see if I'd miss my guitar or not, and it certainly was easier getting around in the airports with just the smaller mandolin in it's backpack case. 
When I landed in Salt Lake City and was waiting for my connection flight, there was a man also waiting for my same flight to Nashville, who was from Japan.  He wasn't carrying any instrument so I had no reason to think that he would be going to the same convention with me too, but he stopped me and asked in his best English "You, IBMA?, you IBMA?"   I was so shocked and of course answered him yes that I was and was he also going.  His reply was "yes, yes" as his eyes just danced to see me and know that I was also going.  Then I proceeded to ask him where his instrument was and as best as I could understand him his friends were bringing it for him.  Later I was to learn that even though he told me he played mandolin same as me,  his friends were actually renting a bass for him.  We landed and I saw that he had a wife with him and thought that we'd be on the same shuttle bus to the convention's hotel.  They went on a different shuttle and he told me that he was at a different hotel for the first couple of nights. 
I arrived at the hotel at around 10 PM Sunday evening and had made arrangements to sleep on the couch in the California Bluegrass Assoc's suite for that first night and then had plans to room the next two nights up at the Sheraton Hotel just two blocks up from the convention sights hotel, and then from Wednesday through the rest of the conference I would be right there at the Renaissance Hotel where the actual conference was being held.  My friends back here at home thought I was nuts to move around like that, but I knew that in order to afford to be able to go, I needed to do anything necessary to have enough money to afford the trip.  For me it is worth any amount of room changing that I need to do to afford the trip. I have Missoula friends, Phyllis Erck and Kimberlee who were also going to be at this conference and they were staying at the Sheratan  two blocks away because the room fee was $40 per night cheaper.  My friends, Kathy Nichols, and Peg Becker were going to be coming also but they always arrive on Wednesday and then stay through the weekend so that they can afford it also.  Anyway my first night there was sleeping on the couch in the California Bluegrass Assoc's suite, of which they didn't have any blankets for me so I slept with my hooded sweatshirt on my legs all night, then the move to the Sheratan for the next two days, and finally to the Renaissance for the final few days.  I never mind the inconvenience as long as I can get to go each year and so it was this year, but it was all good.
Once there Monday morning started out with me getting my registration packet and lanier badge, then reading the book to see which seminars, classes and fun activities I wanted to take in.  Each year they have lot's of very fun and very educational seminars and activities.  Everything began to kick off in earnest at around noon so I was very excited and the adrenaline was pumping through every fiber of my being.  People ask how I can do it staying up late and I mean 4AM late every night jamming and still getting up by 8 to hit the bluegrass trail of activities, well that's my only explanation.  I guess I just get so excited to be there that I don't want to waste a single moment of the time I have during that week. 
I went to mandolin classes, classes on Earl Scrugg's banjo style, song writing classes, morning breakfast classes where they told stories about each of three different icon's in the music we've lost this year,(Earl Scruggs, Doug Dillard, and Everitt Lilly) and many more fun activities all week long.  They even had several of the pro bands jamming in a scheduled area where you could bring your instrument and jam with the pro's.  This has become a very popular activity and although I only listened this year but in past years I've participated myself. 
Then I would jam each night until between 3:30 and 4 AM and still wouldn't be tired so would have to force myself to bed.  The CBA (California Bluegrass Assoc.) would host their suite where you could jam in the bigger room and they would serve you free pop, and beer for those who would want that, and then snacks of chips, veggie trays, fruit and things of this nature.  Most nights if a person were to want to jam in there earlier in the evenings would be great when things were fairly mild and fun but later in the evenings of course it became a wild house and so I would stay away. 
About mid week I was walking around looking for a perfect jam circle to play in when the elevator opened up on the 3rd floor lobby area and here were several people from Japan, all jamming together.  I decided that this would be fun to jam with them and so I stepped off the elevator and was immediately welcomed into their circle.  They were grinning ear to ear and playing their hearts out with pure joy in every note. In years past I've had opportunity to jam with some Japanese bluegrasser's but those were just for a few songs and not for an entire evening like this ended up being.  We all connected spirit to spirit and it was a wonderful evening. 
Thursday evening I was able to go to the Awards Show which is similar to the CMA awards that we see on TV all the time.  Now this has been held at the Ryman Auditorium for most of the years that this conference has been held in Nashville.  I've gone to it every year except for last year because it costs $50 to attend and I just couldn't afford it last year, but this year with it being the last year for this conference to be held in Nashville and possibly my last year to ever be able to attend another show in the Ryman I bought myself a ticket and went to it.  Now I bought the "cheap" $50 ticket, thinking that I would be up in the balcony as usual but was informed that my seat was down on the main floor and not very far back from the stage.  Shocked!  Yes I was and then as I sat there here it was that I ended up being right behind all the stars and in my same row sitting right next to me was a presenter for one of the awards who was from Italy (who I'm sure I should've known since he was obviously someone important enough to be asked to be a presenter), and next to him and his son was Byron Berline the famous fiddler (who at one time played with Bill Monroe and several other famous first generation bands), and his wife.  He was also a presenter of one of the awards, and then next to them was Eddie and Martha Adcock also presenting, all in my same bench row and I was sitting on the end.  How I got this seat is still a mystery to me and as I think about it I realize it was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father who knew how much I'd love it.  I'm sure he was smiling down on me and hoping that I'd enjoy His gift to me that night. Needless to say it was a very spiritual and wonderful evening as I sat in awe!  
The next night I once again tried to find my new Japanese friends, but they weren't in that same 3rd floor lobby area and I couldn't find where they were jamming, so as I wandered, I found a different jam that was in the lobby of the 18th floor where the California suite is located.  Their jam was out in the lobby though so away from the chaos of the CBA suite.  Two friends both from North Carolina were jamming with just themselves. One guy could really play the banjo well and the other could play the guitar really well and take leads on his guitar too, but the thing that struck me the most with those two were their vocal harmonies.  It was amazing how magical it was hearing them sing together and they could execute perfect harmony on each tune.  They had chose tunes to sing that offered great harmony parts too so each and every song they called would make the hair on my arms stand right up when they sang.  I was so impressed with my own ability to keep up on my mandolin too and then I commented to the banjo player that I detected some Reno style licks in his banjo playing and he answered that yes that last song he had played was a Reno and Smiley tune.  I was so proud of myself that I have learned to discern the banjo styles well enough to have picked this out with him and actually have been right with my knowledge.  It was an exciting ah hah moment in time for me that week. 
The next few nights I was able to find my new Japanese friends once again and so spent the nights jamming with them and becoming closer friends.  By the time the end of the week came they were asking me to come to Japan to see them and had traded e-mails with me so that we could keep in contact. 
None of these jams included the man I'd first met at the airport, so I don't know where he was at or ended up jamming at each evening, as I never ran into him again other than in passing twice in the main lobby or at a seminar until the very last morning when I was getting ready to leave again and suddenly there he was sitting in the lobby at 4 AM looking at a lap top computer.   I'd seen him 3 different times in the lobby with different people from Japan but they weren't the same ones as I'd been jamming with all week. Bluegrass has become fairly popular in Japan ever since Bill Monroe first went over there and played some concerts in the 60's.  This was a surprise to me when I first heard it but has been confirmed by just how many come to this IMBA conference each year, and how more and more of them attend each time too.  Now in comparison, there are approximately 15,000 people who attend the conference and about 50 or 75 of those are from Japan.  
Finally here it was the end of the conference, many fun luncheons, shows in the evenings at Ernest Tubbs Record Shop, a Martin Guitar showcase at Roberts Western World with Del McCoury and several other famous bands, the awards show at the Ryman, super good seminars on very interesting subjects, a great exhibition hall with fun booths, great time with old and new friends, and plenty of good jamming with all of them, and the week had to come to an end. 
My flight was to fly out at 7:30 AM and I thought it through and decided that I would be a lot more tired and upset at myself if I would have gone to bed early that night, just so I could get up at the same time as I'd been staying up playing all week.  I would have went to bed unable to sleep then woke up early tired and mad at myself for missing out on my last chance to jam with my friends.   So with great thought put into it I decided that since I'd been jamming until 4 AM the entire week and hadn't felt any ill effects of being tired, I would be happier and better off to just stay up the entire night and then go up to our room by 4 to shower and get my suitcase to catch the shuttle bus back to the airport.  As it turned out this was a perfect solution and worked just fine.  The problem arose because I'd bought a round trip ticket on the Grayline shuttle bus costing me $25.  What I hadn't done is check to make sure that the shuttle bus would begin running early enough for me to get to the airport on time.  Now I realize that they want you there 2 hours before your flight and usually that is more than plenty enough time to get through security and make it to your gate.  My dilemma came because upon looking at my ticket it said that the first shuttle bus would arrive at the hotel around 6AM and that they would be picking up passengers at several hotels in the downtown area before taking us to the airport.  I'm not a person who likes to be last minute at anything, in fact if I'm not 10 minutes early I feel that I'm late.  So I began to panic a little bit but also realized that the worse case scenario would be that I'd have to pay for a taxi even though I'd already paid for this shuttle.  So as I'm thinking this all out and what my options would be here once again, as I mentioned already, was this Japanese man who I'd first met at the airport coming over and so I was explaining my dilemma and looking on my ticket which read, "if you need an earlier shuttle please call by 7 PM the evening before you'll need the ride." Of course when I called the number on my ticket at 5 AM they weren't answering phones and would just send me to an answering machine saying please leave your message and someone will be here to take your call after 7 AM.  So upon all of this I was just about ready to call a taxi when suddenly here comes Missy Raines and her husband and a friend.  Now Missy is the 7 time bass player of the year and a famous bluegrass musician.  They were giggling and laughing as they walked by so I suddenly asked them if they might be going past the airport.  My thoughts were that since they had a friend with them possibly they were taking her to the airport.  They looked at me and answered that no they weren't and then just as my heart sank a little more they turned just as quickly and said, hey we can give you a ride there if you need to get there.  We don't live very far from the airport and it wouldn't imposition us at all to give you a ride.  So I walked with them to their van and they loaded Missy's bass, and my suitcase and all of us loaded in and headed to the airport.  I kind of know Missy as an acquaintance anyway because I'd hired them to play a festival in Montana once but have also seen her and had association with her through the years at all these conferences.  So that's how I ended up making my flight and arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare, still not tired and full of adrenaline, we headed off.  Missy was laughing saying that these "old folks" meaning her husband and friend had wanted to go to bed or she would have still been jamming.  We had a nice drive and got to visit and I made it to the airport.
Now of course I was plenty early with my good fortune of getting the ride so I decided to get me some breakfast in the airport.  I sat down to a table with a breakfast biscuit that I'd ordered from Popeye's Chicken, and then a few minutes later this Japanese man said to me, "do you mind if I sit here at your same table?" You see it was pretty busy considering how early it was but of course that was great by me if he wanted to sit at my table.  He was very quiet and just ate his food without saying a word.  Suddenly as we were both about finished he looked up and said to me, "did you enjoy the IBMA?"  Shocked once again, yes!  His English was very good but he definitely had an accent so I knew he was from Japan.  I of course could have been knocked over by a feather when he said this.  So I answered him that I sure did and was he there also.  He told me that yes he had been there too and that this was his first year to have gotten to go but that he was going to try and go again next year.  Obviously I hadn't seen him there.  He proceeded to tell me that he'd been to Nashville 3 times this last year on business but this was his first time to come to the America to attend the IBMA.  He didn't have an instrument so I asked him about it and he told me that he'd checked his guitar in the baggage.
So this year's IBMA seemed to center around all the new Japanese friends I made and will be remembered as the year of the new Japanese friends.  Not only did I meet my first one in the airport upon the beginning of my trip but then I met the last one in the airport at the end of my trip and in between I had many fun nights jamming and making new Japanese friends too. 
I've already written an e-mail to two of them and have received several e-mails back from one of them.  The lady in the ball cap pictured here is named Yoko and I've also sent an e-mail too but haven't gotten a response yet. She was very happy to meet me and the one that really was excited to e-mail me once we got home so I anticipate that I will hear from her.  She had showed me a movie of them playing out in front of the Ryman the morning of the Awards show and was excited to tell me that Fox News had contacted them and asked them to meet out there and play for them to do a news story on our convention and the Awards Show which was that same evening that they were filmed.  So I got to see the movie on her phone with the Fox News reporter telling about it. 
Missy Raines, and Chris Jones DJ on Sirius Radio give the keynote address to kick off the conference.

The carpet in the Renaissance Hotel

Roland White, (former Bluegrass Boy)  Curly Seckler (mandolin player for Flatt & Scruggs) and little ole me..

Ricky Skaggs

Me playing a Lloyd Loar that was for sale at a mere $175,000 which is a bargain compared to last year when they were going for $225,000.

The Loar

Missy Raines playing in the exhibition hall on a Kay bass that she's played since she was a little girl.

The Japanese friend I met in Salt Lake City as I began my trip.

Nice right hand technique on this banjo player.

Nicky Sanders my favorite fiddle player and friend.  He also plays for my favorite band "The Steep Canyon Rangers."

Yoko and Kenichi my new Japanese friends that I jammed with every evening.  Both play fiddle.

Traveling museum of Flatt and Scruggs bus.

Jesse McReynolds

Sleepy Man Banjo Boy 10 yr. old Johnny Mizzone.

New friend Mitso, who has been e-mailing me now.

8 time fiddler of the year Michael Cleveland as I watched him in a hot jam the first night.

Now at the end of each festival or bluegrass event it's always a let down for me but I've come to accept and realize that if these times never ended I wouldn't appreciate them for what they are because they would become a daily way of life and not be special anymore.  So once again I'll begin saving up for next year when this conference is moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.  It's been in Nashville for 8 years now so this move could be something fun and new to look forward to next Fall.  Save, save, save... do I really need those new boots?... save, save, save...  How much do you want to go next year again..... I guess I better think hard before buying the new cowboy boots I want cause I want to be able to afford to attend this again next year.   PS, once I got on the plane we were delayed on the tarmac 2 hours because they needed to fix our plane.  I slept the entire time and on the entire flight back to Salt Lake, but by golly after that I was ready to hit the bluegrass trail once again. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The End of a wonderful Summer

Well it's been quite a long while since I've written here, but let's just say I've been busy having a fun Summer with my grand kids.  John and I are so fortunate to have kids who allow us to keep our grand kids as much as we'd like to each summer and so it was again this summer. 
It began in June when we were down in the Salt Lake Valley with our oldest grand kids.  We'd dropped our grandson Jeff off at the Missionary Training Center for him to begin his two year mission to the St Louis, MO area.  We had spent almost 3 weeks at the kids' house with all the celebrations and activities related to the beginning of his mission.  We took him to the training center to begin his mission on June 6th and a few days later John and I headed out for a big bluegrass festival in Grass Valley, California.  The 3 oldest grand kids wanted to come with us and spend a month with us so we headed out and got to bring them with us.
As it turned out the teenage brain has set in and the kids didn't enjoy their time at the festival whereas years ago they used to love to get to go with us to bluegrass festivals.  It was a boring week for them and it sort of spoiled it for grandpa and I but we understand how it is with teenagers and so off we went to get them home here where they could do the fun things they love around our house here. 
Before the final drive home though, we stopped off at Weiser for 3 days at the National Fiddle Competition so that I could play some music with my friends there and the kids enjoyed that slightly better cause there was a lot of booths of people selling their wares and they had fun shopping.  Other than that though they were bored once again so anxious to get back to our house here. 
Once home we enjoyed another 2 weeks with them and Tanner our 13 year old loved that grandpa and I had brought his Honda 100 motorcycle home with us so that he could actually ride it.  You see where he lives, right in the city, there's no place for him to ride and now they'd just sold their truck so they didn't even have a way to haul it somewhere that he could ride.  Grandpa and his dad had made a rack for it on the back side of our 5th wheel and we were able to get it here for him.  The next two weeks leading up to my 4th of July annual family reunion was spent riding the 4 wheelers, swimming, and Tanner riding his motorcycle.  He's a really good cyclist and was able to take it way up into the mountains on the trails with no trouble controlling it at all.  I was totally amazed at how well he had remembered how to ride.  You see his parents had him riding a little Suzuki 50 when he was only 3, but on that cycle you didn't have to shift, so now with this larger bike he had to learn to shift.  He took to it like a duck to water and wanted to ride it day and night.  I was so happy that we could get it up here to our place so that he had that opportunity, and surprisingly he's grown so much that he's almost too big for the cycle already, but it was really a good two weeks for him especially.  He was in 7th heaven getting to ride it as much as he wanted every day. 
Then came the 4th of July and we hosted the family reunion once more, so that entailed the bluegrass concert here with the grand kids getting to play.  Tanner who had always embraced getting to play didn't want to play with the kids this year so I began to see him pulling away from it like the others have done also, but when he was one on one with me he enjoyed playing still and has become a real decent bass player.  When their parents left at the end of the reunion this set of grand kids went home with them. I was sad to see them go.
Now during this reunion time our oldest son Tyler and his family came with their 3 kids, Pyper, Ryker, and Greisyn.  They got to stay with us an extra week once the reunion had ended so it was really enjoyable to have them all to ourselves.  When the adult kids left though we got to keep those 3 grand kids for the rest of the summer.  John and I had so much fun with them and they learned so much and grew so much in the 7 weeks that they were here. 
Pyper learned to swim in the deeper water and not be afraid of it, and even though she still needs to wear a life jacket this was a huge step, because just 2 years ago she was deathly afraid to be in water deeper than her knees.  Now here she was swimming clear out to the dock in Gail's pond all by herself so her parents just couldn't believe the progress that I was able to make with her there.  Then Ryker also learned to swim but he's never been afraid of water so he actually learned to swim without his life jacket and now can swim across the pond and back several times with no life jacket.  Greisyn also learned to trust his life jacket so was swimming way out into the pond too and I would send pictures home to their parents showing how good the kids were doing.  I think we swam in the pond almost every single day that the kids were here.
Ryker learned to ride the 4 wheeler even better than last year so was able to take it all by himself and go around our property here just like a pro, and meanwhile Pyper learned to drive one by herself too.  I would always ride behind her though as she was just learning but at least she wasn't afraid and she did it all by herself each day.  Once again their parents were in shock at all the things these kids were learning to do! 
Now I'm saving the best for last.  I was able to really work with the kids musically and they advanced like crazy.  Pyper learned to play the bass, changing chords fluently in the Key of D, and Ryker also learned to play it even pushing down notes on the fingerboard.  His true passion is for the mandolin though and he's always loved mandolin.  He found our oldest grand daughter Cortney's mandolin here in my bedroom and he immediately gravitated to it and wanted to play it all the time.  I was able to teach him to play 4 songs while he was here, all three parts to Boil Down the Cabbage, Hot Corn, Cold Corn, and Angeline the Baker, plus one more Handsome Molly.  I taught him how to take breaks and come in right with the singing and the down beat as he took his break on it.  It was so awesome that these kids were playing so good and we were having so much fun each day playing music together.  We were able to play music pretty much every day that they were here too.  Ryker promised me that he wouldn't ever stop playing! 
John and I were able to take them to the Hardtimes Festival where they played the "Kids In Bluegrass" and did a fantastic job!  Then some of us from my Foggy Mtn Girls band along with 2 of Gail's grand daughters, Callie on fiddle and Victoria on banjo, and then Pyper on mandolin competed in the band contest and we won it again this year!  Pyper was so excited that we won and we had Joy, the mom to Callie and Victoria take our picture in front of an antique car that was there.  It was so exciting for Pyper that she talked about it the rest of the summer. 
Finally after a busy summer of fun it was time to take the kids back home to Pocatello but not before dropping John off at the Round Valley Festival area for him to work on finishing building the stage that they'd begun last year.  When Ryker found out that they weren't going to get to stay for the festival and play on the stage he cried.  I felt so sad for him and then Gail suggested that they could get on the stage and play before we had to take them home and that I could get pictures of them.  So even though they couldn't play on the stage for the festival they could play on it beforehand and I could take their pictures.  This cheered him up and so when we dropped grandpa off he and Pyper and Greisyn got up there and I took a whole lot of pictures of them.  I got some wonderful shots, and it was a fun way to spend my last summer day with them. 
As we drove home I was able to talk to the kids about a festival being held right there in their own town of Pocatello that very weekend and how I could take them to that festival.  Ryker went with me for two full days and he stayed up clear until 1AM and midnight the next evening jamming with a whole group of us the entire time.  A new friend we met there Joel, was a dobro player and Ryker was really taken with his dobro so this guy went home and brought one of his dobros for Ryker to play and jam.  Before the end of the festival he actually made Ryker his own Hawaiian guitar/dobro to keep at his house and work on playing and he also offered to help him keep learning it now that I'm home which was way nice too. 
Finally to top off our perfect summer the kids put on a concert for their other grand parents and an aunt and uncle on their mom's side of the family.  That side of the family were so impressed that I thought they were going to cry when they saw the kids playing so well, then I took them back to the festival for the last day and signed them up to play the open mic time.  They got on stage and played 2 tunes, Hot Corn Cold Corn where Ryker got to show how he could take a lead on his mandolin and how he could come in on the downbeat and everything, and Pyper got to play the bass and show that she could keep great time on it, and then per the kids' pick they wanted to do their favorite song they learned this summer, "Barefoot Nellie" which switched Pyper and Ryker on the bass and mandolin duties.  It was an awesome way to end our summer. 
Now before I end this post I want to say one more thing.  I got a phone call yesterday from our daughter-in-law LaDeena telling me that Pyper went into the office at her school and told the secretary that she'd learned to play the bass this summer and then she sang the song "Barefoot Nellie" to her.  The secretary told my daughter-in-law Deena how cute it was and how impressed she was that Pyper could play the bass.  My heart about pounded out of my chest with pride to hear this. 
I'm praying that my older grand kids will come back to playing and grow up to have the desire to learn more and once again want to play, and that my younger ones who are so enthused right now will keep up the good work and stay with it forever.  I've taught and given every one of my 11 grand kids the opportunity to learn, and it's been a huge blessing for me to see them each have a time in their lives when they embraced it and loved it.  I have a feeling that Pyper and Ryker are going to stick with it though because they're both self motivated even while I'm gone to keep practicing.  I taught Ryker how to tune his instruments too. 
Playing with the "Kids In Bluegrass" on stage at the Hardtimes Festival over in Montana, July 2012. Ryker and Greisyn.

Pyper and Ryker playing on stage with the "Kids In Bluegrass" at the Hardtimes Festival.

The winning band from the Band Contest.  We called ourselves "The Hens and Chicks."  Pyper was so proud that we won.  We each got a jar of Huckleberry jam and the button you see the kids wearing here.  It has a picture of two hillbilly guys on it and says. "We Dun Won"  Hardtimes 2012.

Ryker learning to play the dobro that our new friend brought for him to try. He jammed both Friday and Saturday night with us until around 1AM.  The next day he told his mom, I won't be home with grandma until after midnight, and he thought it was so cool that he got to stay up that late playing music each night.  I got a real kick out of it!

Playing Hot Corn, Cold Corn at the open mic time for the Pocatello Festival.  Ryker is taking his lead.  He did great and afterwards I had 3 different parents come up to me and ask me how I teach the kids because they want to teach theirs and don't know where to start or how I do it. 

The Round Valley Festival that their grandpa helped build and this was the day that we had to take them home so before we left grandpa there we let the kids get on the stage and play while I took their pictures. They loved it!

Greisyn who's almost 6 here is still too young to learn to play so he sings with the kids.  He gets upset though that he doesn't have an instrument so sometimes we let him hold one while he's on the stage.  Next year I'll begin teaching him. 

11 year old Pyper loves to play the bass and is learning it really well.  She can really sing good too and can sing while she's playing it which is hard for some people to be able to do.  I'm so lucky that my friend Joel who lives in Pocatello sold me this smaller quarter bass so that the kids can learn on it.  She looks so small with this bass but the bass is only about half the size of a regular bass.  They call them quarter basses.  This one is even a Kay Bass which is a real find as instruments go. 

Ryker playing the Cole mandolin that I'd bought for my oldest grand daughter Cortney.  She was told that if she didn't stick with it and play it then it came back to me, so since she isn't playing it I've had it at my house.  Ryker immediately gravitated towards that better mandolin and played it the entire time he was here, so I let him take it home to keep practicing on.  His mom tells me that he gets it out every day is plays, so I'm very excited to see his self motivation. 

Pyper playing her bass and singing.  She's really good at both!

Ryker takes his turn on the bass.  Not many 9 year olds can say that they know how to play 3 instruments, but he sure can and is learning them all really good too.

Ryker playing the Cole mandolin that may end up belonging to him if Cortney doesn't come back to it and if he sticks to playing. 

Pyper chops the mandolin whenever Ryker takes the bass.  I love these guys and love that I get to teach them.  It's the best thing ever in life getting to be a grandma!
What a great summer filled with lot's of memories and great times.  And now you see why it's been such a long time for me between posts on here.  Life is Good.