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A piece I wrote for Banjo NewsletterApril 07

Posted by Ban-Joey on Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Thursday Night Pickin Circle By Joseph S. Bonsall The farm and acreage that Mary and I own sit right on the Kentucky / Tennessee border. In fact, the State Line runs right in front of the house. The house sits back a bit from the foot of the driveway that leads down into the holler. The holler is the centerpiece of the property. I like to tell people that they can eat dinner in Tennessee and go to bed in Kentucky, however, that is somewhat of a stretch because our humble home actually sits entirely in the Commonwealth of KAIN-TUCK-EE! Geographically speaking, we actually live in the small town of Bugtussle, Kentucky. Lafayette, Tennessee, is 14 miles to the southwest of us, and the Monroe County seat of Tomkinsville, Kentucky, is approximately 14 miles northeast of us. However, in between my farm and TVille as the locals call it, sits the little town of Gamaliel, Kentucky. That is where this little story takes place. Now Gamaliel is about seven miles from our farm in the Bugtussle holler and is pronounced GA-MAIL-YA (although someone just passing through could never guess that). It looks like GA-MA-LEEL....... or GA-MELL....... or GA-MEAL. ANYTHING but GA-MAIL-YA. My neighbor Harold runs a convenient store and gas station in Gamaliel, right next to the Dollar General. There are also a small IGA store, a Farmers Supply Depot, and several restaurants, which feature either barbecue or good, down home country cooking, Meat and threes, as they are known in the South. Mary and I and the grandkids just love to drive up to the Gamaliel Diner for a big, country breakfast, featuring the finest pancakes in Kentucky! Then we will usually fill up my Diesel containers at Harold's store, top off the truck, and pick up some sweet feed for my donkeys and corn for my deer at the Farm Supply. Right next to the aforementioned Gamaliel Diner, there is a furniture store. Across the street are a bank and the brand new elementary school. This school, like the relatively new Monroe County Junior and Senior High Schools in TVille, were built by our tax dollars and grants from the Kentucky State Lottery. Nice to see that all of those losing Powerball tickets account for SOMETHING....... and anyone will tell you....... these schools are beautiful. To the left of the bank, sitting back a few yards from the road, is the City Hall / Senior Center, and that is where I spent almost four hours of my life this past Thursday evening. I had always heard that a bunch of old pickers gathered there on Thursdays, and I had always meant to stop by. But two things have prevented me from doing so. The Oaks schedule AND....... I will admit it....... I was chicken. Well, actually, just not confident enough in my banjo playing to enter a room full of pickers and sit in on the jam. However, this past week I WAS in town on Thursday, I WAS at the farm, and I WAS actually feeling pretty good about my playing! I had run out to the farm the night before because I had some equipment coming in from John Deere that had been serviced for me. Tractors and cutters and weedeaters and Gators all prepared and ready for the rest of 2006! I spent the rest of that afternoon cleaning up flood debris from three pastures. It is important to at least get the big WOOD off the fields so when grass starts growing they are not concealed. That can be a disaster for a rotary cutter blade later in the year. Now, good old Salt Lick Creek WILL flood again several times this spring, I am certain, and that is why I dont try to get every little thing cleaned up. These are HUGE pastures so just the big stuff is handled....... like a tree trunk or huge branches or a family of four sitting at a breakfast table. I dragged myself into the house around 4 PM, took a shower, and called Mary who was in Hendersonville nursing a bad cold. I told her I was considering running up to Gamaliel and pickin' at the City Hall, and she encouraged me to do so. You have always w

14 comments on “A piece I wrote for Banjo NewsletterApril 07”

HoosierGal Says:
Monday, June 4, 2007 @10:17:16 AM

What a sweet story. I'm convinced now that I've got to get down the the banjojam we have here every couple of weeks, even if I just sit and watch. Thanks for sharing.

Ban-Joey Says:
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 @3:42:02 PM

Just pick a little roll or two hon... nobody will mind at all!!!!!

jpoulette Says:
Thursday, June 21, 2007 @5:15:21 AM

Joe - Great story! It's a long haul from Cow Hampshire, but I will get down there with my banjer one of these days.

Ban-Joey Says:
Thursday, June 21, 2007 @11:20:47 AM

Coming to Lancaster COW HAMPSHIRE on Sept 1st, let's pick!! Ban-Joey

slowlybutsurely Says:
Sunday, July 1, 2007 @9:07:58 AM

Hey  Joe,

Welcome to the BHO. I read your story in BNL and really liked it. A friend and I may go up and check it out. I do work in Lafayette and Red Boiling alot. I would say you had a blast playing with those people. I went to Nine Mile Bluegrass festival last Saturday and sat under a tree with some people like that. I enjoy both the playing and the stories they have to share.

HoosierGal Says:
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 @3:08:23 AM

Shoot, there's no way I'd go pick a roll in front of a group yet.. lol.. I'd be scared to even carry it into the place. I AM getting better though, so maybe some day. My neighbor heard me playing the other day and said it was pretty, that was a nice boost.

Happy 4th of July, stay safe and happy trails.

sawyer 12 Says:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 @12:56:22 AM

Hey Joe,  man  I have lived in lafayette all my life. I very well know about bugtussel and gamaliel. Also my sister lives next to gamaliel. If thats Ray Cain you,re talking about playing the banjo I know him too. That just thrilled me to death ready this. I had no idea you lived there or played a banjo.  I may have to just make me a little trip over there too.    

sawyer 12 Says:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 @12:56:39 AM

Hey Joe,  man  I have lived in lafayette all my life. I very well know about bugtussel and gamaliel. Also my sister lives next to gamaliel. If thats Ray Cain you,re talking about playing the banjo I know him too. That just thrilled me to death ready this. I had no idea you lived there or played a banjo.  I may have to just make me a little trip over there too.    

Ban-Joey Says:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 @1:30:28 PM

Hey David........ cool to hear from you........ I think it WAS Ray Cain....... a great night......... Thanks for the comments man! CU in MACON!!! Ban-Joey

Ban-Joey Says:
Saturday, July 14, 2007 @1:33:27 PM

Hey HoosierGirl........Most of the folks who clump up and jam are pretty cool people. The first time I ever did it was one year into learning and I was HORRIBLE........ other banjo players helped me out though, justy try not to get in the way. If they are way over your head....... just listen and learn............... ad a roll or lick when you can.....Love and Blessings, Ban-Joey

philbywan Says:
Friday, July 20, 2007 @4:43:48 PM

Wow Joey, what a great piece. I have been playing a few months, and my teacher's taken to "jamming" with me on guitar for most of my lessons. If I mess up there's no stopping, I find my place and jump back in. Good training for playing with others, which he encourages me to do regularly.

The local Ruritan Club has a bluegrass jam every Monday night. We went to a festival there a few weeks back, and one old timer told me they sang hymms for the first hour then played whatever the group felt like. Seemed like some real nice folks at the festival.

I've been trying to get my courage up to go one Monday. After reading your piece, and hearing how nice and accepting everyone was... I think I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for your inspirational words!



Ban-Joey Says:
Friday, July 20, 2007 @11:47:38 PM

Thanks Phil For your comments....... As for YOUR Monday night jam..... I say pick up the old 5 string and have at it...... even if you just ad a rol or lick here and there......... God Bless man...... keep pickin!!!!!! Ban-Joey

jpoulette Says:
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @8:41:01 AM

Joey - We'll definitely be there Sept 1st (7 PM) for the show in Lancaster NH. AH - late summer in Cow Hampshire - HOT days - FREEZING nights. Looking forward to it !

Ban-Joey Says:
Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @3:34:18 PM

COOL MAN....... we are having HOT DAYS and HOT nights in most places....... I will bring a JACKET!!!!!!! :) BAn-Joey

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