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This Summer...

Posted by Banjo Mountain on Saturday, July 26, 2008

I have now finished working as a historical reenactor at an ~1880s mountain cabin on Robert W. Woodruff Scout Reservation in Blairsville, Georgia. This summer I enjoyed playing the banjo(mostly clawhammer) for Boy Scouts and adults at this rare old cabin way back in the hills and hollers of north Georgia. The job also included blacksmithing demonstrations, candle-making, bullet-making, logging, antique wood-working, and mountain folklore. I was real lucky to get a summer job that was right up my alley! I have now changed my experience level on my profile to professional because I was being paid to play the banjo while working there(it was part of my paycheck).

All good things must come to an end, and it deserved to come to an end because I became physically worn-out from this job. I had to hike about 1 mile in overalls and period clothing everyday to the cabin, which was located way back on a very remote and hilly piece of the scout reservation. I would also tote my banjo and any tools needed for that day's work with me.  Playing clawhammer and showing boy scouts how people lived way back in the hills in the old days was fun. I really enjoyed this for experience and the impression I made on so many young boys who now all want to play the banjo. Also, during this experience I became an expert log-splitter which resulted in one of the nicest split-rail fences you will find way back in the middle of nowhere. Splitting logs all day for 2-3 weeks really builds muscle! When you are in an environment where all you use and have is hand tools(axes, sledge hammers, chisels, knives, tomahawks, etc) things take 3 times longer than they would if you had electric tools. Believe me, we all take things for granted that our ancestors never had.

Many scouts will remember that aftenoon after hiking a mile on a winding dusty trail out in the middle of nowhere in the mountains and finally coming out into a little clearing and hearing that oh so unique sound of an old open-back banjo frailing through the air, black with suit from a coal fire burning softly in an old forge. That is what it was like there.

1 comment on “This Summer...”

Unplugged Says:
Sunday, July 27, 2008 @8:35:05 AM

What a great experience - and a terrific way to make a lasting impression on kids. Bravo!

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