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The best birthday EVER!

Posted by paulrobertwagner on Saturday, August 11, 2007

Here's a copy of a recent e-mail I thought would be a fitting first blog entry here at Banjo Hangout:

July 30, 2007

Yesterday was my 46th birthday.  Although I usually work on Sunday, I am on vacation, so we went up to Saranac Lake for the day to visit three places of my choice (listening to mountain dulcimer music all the way up).  The first place we visited was the Robert Louis Steven cottage, and the tour was terrific!  Then we had lunch on the lake and went to the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Center, where we saw a seventeen-minute slide show on the Adirondack waterways.  To my great surprise, during the show I heard a familiar voice sing about the beauty of the Adirondacks.  I said to my wife, "That's Susan Trump!" and sure enough, the credits twice mentioned my dulcimer teacher of two years.  I thought: "This is so cool!  My birthday couldn't get much better than this."

After exploring the Adirondack Visitor Center, we went to the Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota.  Or rather, I went inside: my wife and in-laws opted to stay in the car and nap.  The great thing here is that I was able to pick up a new DVD with 4 half hour shows featuring the founder of the museum explaining the exhibits for less than the cost of us all going in!  I'll try to coax my family into watching some of it with me today.

After the visit to the Indian museum, we headed back to Glens Falls, had dinner at the Olive Garden, then went home and watched a movie together.  And birthday got even better!  I got a phone call from Dave, the host of "Banjo Talk," ( to tell me that I'd won a contest I didn't even know I had entered.  Weeks ago, I had called into his show when Mary Z. Cox was a guest  to discuss her CD "Dulcimer Fandango".  It turns out that just by calling in my name had been entered into a drawing, and I was told I'd won a Recording King RK-R20.  Not knowing what that was, I asked David to refresh my memory, and he told me that I'd won a brand new BANJO!

Now I just need to figure out how to play a bluegrass banjo.  Or any kind of banjo, for that matter.

Life is good, and some days, it's just terrific!  I hope you have a great week, too.

8 comments on “The best birthday EVER!”

banjotef Says:
Saturday, August 11, 2007 @6:16:21 AM

    Congrats!!  Too cool for words!   Enjoy your new banjo.  Any of us will be glad to help.

                                                      happy pickin'

maryzcox Says:
Saturday, August 11, 2007 @10:25:07 AM

Congrats Paul!

You look really good with that banjo!  Bet it sounds really good too--Todd Taylor was raving over the Recording Kings when he was on BanjoTalk and he has four of them. :)

Best wishes always,

Mary Z. Cox

ps. And now you know that the drawings are totally honest and on the up and up on Banjotalk since a dulcimerist won the banjo! :)

gottasmilealot Says:
Monday, August 13, 2007 @9:34:50 PM

Good things come to good people.  Enjoy your banjo!

HoosierGal Says:
Monday, August 13, 2007 @11:47:24 PM

Congratulations Paul.. what a birthday ! If you want to start learning, I, and several others, suggest the Janet Davis "teach myself banjo" book. It's awesome, easy.. and I think it comes with a dvd that has Janet giving personal instruction in a slow and simple manner. Very good book to have, I love mine.

Good luck, and Happy Pickin' - Karyn

TThorpe Says:
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 @2:25:49 PM

Paul, sounds like a great birthday!  It's good to have you as a new BH friend.  I'm originally from the Glens Falls area, too.  Mom and dad had a farm in Hartford, NY off route 40.  Mom's favorite place to eat up there was the Olive Garden, too, so it's a small world.  Anyway, good luck with your new banjo. I'll keep you posted about jams in our area.  Actually, there's one in Schenectady Central Park tonight at 7:00.  They meet there every Tuesday in the summer until after Labor Day.


banjofrailer Says:
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 @9:31:31 PM

I live in Cambridge, NY...small world.

mandograss Says:
Sunday, October 26, 2008 @7:03:36 PM

Hey, it's been a little over a year now. You playing that banjo yet? Church folks love gospel bluegrass I know that for a fact!!  Nice looking banjo also!

paulrobertwagner Says:
Thursday, May 14, 2009 @1:54:27 PM

Since Mandograss asked, here's an update:  after too long of making too little progress on my own, I began formal banjo lessons at the end of April.   Those teach-yer-self books and dvds just didn't give me the same kind of focus -- and, more importantly, accountability -- that personal lessons have.  So now, it's practice, practice, practice -- because it's sure hard to fake roll patterns in front of an actual teacher.

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