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First & Lasting impressions; How I came to play the Banjo (installment #4)

Posted by Lauriemac on Wednesday, July 15, 2009

… 2008 was a mixed blessing for the US of A… and, a Very good year for me. With all the afore mentioned coming to a sense of fruition, I could sense major happenings on the horizon for me if I just stayed focused on my strengths and desired outcomes.

 

Early November I was in town one Sunday afternoon,  that be Lexing-to(w)n… and had been working hard all weekend timber framing a sweet little potting shed to be auctioned to raise money for our local woman’s shelter, Project Horizon’s, Lisa’s House. Feeling quite tired & satisfied, I found my way into a local art studio that was having a little reception. Several friends were there jamming away.  The community, the late day sun, the old time tunes shared after working wood all day with handplanes , chisels & mallets… could not have been a more romantic, warm & eneveloping way to cap my day. I declared, out loud, to 2 friends, that 2009 would be the year I learned a stringed instrument. Elizabeth asked," Oh yeah? and whch stringed instrument might that be?" Still waffling on which, it would be, I said," don't know, but I'm sure it will come to me...2009 is right around the corner!"

 

One month later, on a Sunday morn, I received a call that Odell McGuire had passed away. I whelmed with emotion, even though Odell had not had much of a presence in my life in the past many years. An occasional bump into, at the grocery store. We’d talk about his goats, he’d tell me that I hadn’t changed since the day I set foot in Rockbridge… I’d say to him, "Neither have you, your still cantakorous…" he’d pause in his special way, and say,” your probably correct.” And the last ‘Event’ being his 80th  birthday celebration at Zollman’s Pavillion on a BEAutiful Spring weekend in April of ’07.

 

Yet that Sunday morning my very first meeting with that cantankerous ‘old man’ flooded my memory. The welcoming to Rockbridge County in October of 1978 that he provided me without having a clue, as I walked into the White Column Inn and heard him pickin’ is banjo in the corner, bathed in afternoon sun, was paramount to my growing. As if a lightening bolt had struck me… I knew without a shred of doubt which stringed instrument I would be learning.

 

On December 21st, the, Winter Solstice, a day in the calendar year that has been my families holiday for celebration close to 30 years, was the afternoon of Odell’s memorial service at Lee Chapel on the Washington & Lee Campus in Lexington. Again, a 4:00 afternoon sun, streaming through the windows, washing over Odell’s family, friends, community, right on down to his first great grandchild Dorthothy Rose.  A few simple pine boughs drapped from the balcony. Folks came from far & wide…the 'next generation' now mostly in their 50’s …instruments in hand, welcoming all with old time tunes and words of wonder. Celebrating & honoring the life and times of Odell McGuire.

 

On February 1st 2009 I had my first banjo guidance (lesson) with David Winston. One of Odell’s, ‘next generation’.

(installment #4) stay tuned!

 



2 comments on “First & Lasting impressions; How I came to play the Banjo (installment #4)”

banjotef Says:
Wednesday, July 15, 2009 @8:11:09 PM

Wonderful stories.  Keep 'em coming!

clio Says:
Thursday, July 16, 2009 @3:34:23 AM

I was in Lee Chapel a few weeks ago, when passing through on I81 from DC. Beautiful place.

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