During the Thanksgiving weekend, we visited my parents in Flippin, Arkansas
. Those of you who know boats may know Flippin as the place where they manufacture Ranger Boats
. Some of you may think that's where I get some of my unusual vocal inflections. Actually, no. My folks retired a few years ago and moved to Arkansas.
While we were visiting there, we had the opportunity to visit a bluegrass jam session in Cotter, Arkansas
. Cotter also claims to be the "Trout Capital of the USA." This part of Arkansas (about 70 miles on Highway 65 south of Branson, Missouri), is home to some unique city names: Yellville, Gassville and Bull Shoals. The folks there take some ribbing about the names but you won't find any nicer folks. They welcome you to their communities with open arms.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we traveled to Cotter to attend the jam session. My mother is a retired professional vocalist so she enjoys going to the various musical functions in the area. My son, Chris who turns 15 today, plays guitar and wanted to sit in with the musicians. I've placed several photos below.
In the photo below, (Chris is on the right), was playing his selection of "House of the Rising Sun."
The musicians have various skill levels. Some are professional, others have recently started playing an instrument. One gentleman who recently turned 74 just started playing the guitar. The participants take turns going around the circle introducing themselves and play their favorite selections. They continue until they get tired or run out of time. The event is like a big pot luck function in that everyone brings something to eat or drink. The organization continues through the donations given by those who attend. A number of the participants took time to visit with Chris and to encourage him and give him a few pointers. They were kind enough to provide the positive reinforcement that helps young adolescents build confidence and self-esteem. It didn't hurt Chris' parents' pride level either.
Chris is a good son and we are proud of him. I'll leave it at that because he made me promise to not get too mushy.
As I was drafting this posting last night, a movie entitled "Frequency" came on one of the local cable channels. It's a movie about a cop who is assigned to a major city homicide unit. This cop lost his firefighter father when he was six years old after his dad died in a fire. Through some unusual atmospheric conditions and an old HAM radio, he is suddenly able to communicate to his father in the past. The result is the ability to prevent the accident that killed his father.
The movie caught my attention for several reasons: it was a story involving public safety officers, I had just edited an entry about HAM radio operators and the main character had lost his father as a child. Having lost my father to cancer when I was young made the movie a little difficult to watch. Part of the plot used the theme of "what if." My dad died about 34 years ago and I still catch myself asking "what if" about my dad. I don't have the benefit of funky atmospheric conditions and an old Ham radio to communicate to my dad 30 years in the past like the character in the movie. I only have the memories of the time I had with him and a faith that tells me that I will see him again some day.
The movie did get me thinking though. During this time of year, it seems like things move faster. Our time commitments because of the end of the year and holiday season seem to multiply. It reminded me that we need to treasure the time we have for the things important to us. Time spent with family and friends, especially our kids, is a limited commodity: one in which we don't have the luxury of negotiating an extension.
Take advantage of the time you have.