Monday, August 13, 2012

Blessings at Blue Waters

Just a few days after we drove home from Utah after a great week with our family of 13, we headed out in our truck and trailer for Moses Lake for the Five Suns Bluegrass Festival where the amazing Gibson Bros. were the main attraction.

Saturday night after those last concerts, we had begun to jam outside our trailer. Arthur was inside, drifting off to sleep. A tall man named Ken came over with his mandolin and joined us. After a while another guitar player joined in and then a bass player. It got too cold for me about 12:30 am but Dennis stayed out and chatted a while before he turned in.

That Sunday morning we saw that Ken and his wife, Nancy, were camping right across and down a bit from us. After we got everything ready to go, we joined them for a few gospel songs played and sung together. We discovered that all of us were planning to attend the festival at Blue Waters in two weeks where Foghorn Stringband would be playing. Their niece, Reeb, who plays with Foghorn, would be bringing her boyfriend, Caleb Klauder, who leads the band, to jam at their campsite so they invited us to come jam with them also!

We first saw Foghorn Stringband four years ago when they played at Sacajawea for the contra dance and for a concert Sunday morning. I loved their old-time fiddle/mandolin/banjo/guitar/bass music played sitting down and sung into one mike. It is such happy music that made one want to dance, so we bought one of their CD's. They tour the world and keep getting better and more in demand. They've gotten into Cajun music as well, which is also infectious in making one want to dance!

The first bunch of blessings of this festival was our getting away from Kennewick by 5:00 pm Wednesday eve. The Lord energized Arthur and me to shop, pack and load the trailer around a few hours at work. It was our third time going out with our trailer and where to put everything had finally come together in my head. The Lord equipped Dennis to get things tied up at Artmil, and answered many prayers for our capable staff in dealing with many situations while we were gone. Our home's old front door had been removed recently and the new door was in but not yet secure. Dennis boarded up the outside of the door opening before filling up our water tank, and we were off!

Then we were blessed when we arrived at Medical Lake and drove up the hill to the camping area. The first campers that we saw were Ken and Nancy, eating supper in front of their rig, inviting us to take the empty spot right next to them! After we got set up and ate a quick supper, we did a few songs together with Ken. He is retired and repairs instruments as a hobby. He jokes about MAS: mandolin acquisition syndrome.

By 10 am Thursday morning it was getting hot in the trailer even with the fan going, powered by our generator, so we drove ten miles into Cheney, where Dennis graduated from college with his BA in Art in 1977. Our former abode in Married Student Court has been replaced with a huge dorm building! Dennis found a music store (smile!) whose friendly owner sold a few guitars along with bicycles. Then we discovered a wonderful three story bookstore which was sadly going out of business. The EWU tees, hats and mugs were 50% off, so Dennis stocked up. Friday, when we returned to get tees for Arthur, we stumbled onto the Cheney city museum, filled with fine old quilts, local antiques, great photos and stories. Our last stop was at the Ben Franklin store where I worked when I was pregnant with Keith! We were blessed to find sturdy canvas chairs to replace our ancient and leaning webbed, aluminum ones!

Back at camp, we walked out up to our necks in the supposed blue waters of Medical Lake to toss a football to each other but the unblue stuff floating in the water made me not want to do that again! Another time we walked around the lake into the town where we stopped to admire lovely dahlias growing at the edge of a lawn. The gardener came out and gave us some onions she had growing in the midst of her flower assortment!

Friday eve, after the rousing concerts, Arthur wanted to watch the rest of his DVD show in the trailer before making his table into his bed. Dennis went next door to the jam with the Stringband guests and I finally made it over 45 minutes later, feeling pretty shy and nervous. Soon members of another band joined in and I was very out of my league, but hung in there until 2:30 am! This was a big blessing, me being willing and able to stay up that late, not to mention the great experience that playing with so many really good musicians and new songs provided both Dennis and me. We got very s-t-r-e-t-c-hed!

Earlier on Saturday we took in several workshops, which are always good for getting to know the band members better besides learning from their teaching. We were able to pick up the violin we'd had refurbished by a luthier in Spokane who was vending at the festival. Later, The Quebe Sisters Band concert was memorably outstanding-- see what I mean online! Foghorn played with their mentor, Dirk Powell. Dennis' favorite, the Josh Williams Band, closed out the evening.

Afterwards, at Ken and Nancy's place, all four Foghorn members and Dirk Powell plus another band of fiddlers filled up the space under their awning. We'd been invited again, but by the time Arthur was tucked in, Dennis was back under our awning with a wandering bass player named Mark. Soon we were joined by four fellow Tri-Citians playing fiddles and guitar, plus a mandolin player from Yakima. This gathering was an amazing and gratifying blessing, establishing a firmer bond with people we've known for years but not felt very close to. Once again, without a nap and with only five hours of sleep the previous night, I stayed with our fun group playing and singing until 1:30 am!

Sunday morning, Arthur and Nancy joined Ken and Dennis and me to play and sing some gospel songs together. Soon Foghorn stopped to say goodbye on their way to Saskatchewan to teach at a music camp. I assume because we were friends of Ken and Nancy, they hugged us good-bye as well! Before the last concerts of the festival in the afternoon took place we shared about our diet/ way of losing weight with Ken, who had asked about it earlier. Reeb's mother was there as well, chiming in her knowledge of nutrition too. We certainly were blessed by their warmth and friendship and look forward to seeing them at another festival next year!

We got home around 9 pm, very tired and very blessed. God keeps growing and blessing us in countless ways, but a few blessings got counted here!