Saturday, January 05, 2013
Yesterday I heard that all 2,900 acres of Schweitzer Mountain Resort were open to skiing.
That meant 41 groomed trails and 8 lifts operating.
It's been a banner holiday season for the resort.
This year, in December, Schweitzer will turn 50. So it's going to be a memorable year for the place, and I get to tell its story for a couple of publications.
With that in mind, if any readers (including you, Jean M.---I sent you a note on Facebook) with memories of the early years, especially the first day, wish to send me some notes about their experiences, I'd love it.
So, take a nostalgic trip back, wade through the cobwebs of your mind and send me some thoughts.
This week I've been spending a lot of time looking at Schweitzer and thinking about the mountain.
Also, on my mind is Old Joe Clark.
I met him briefly on Thursday, and I've been trying to get to know him better for the past few days.
Sadly, I think it's gonna take a while to get fully acquainted with Joe.
After all, my fingers don't walk very well.
"Old Joe" is a vital part of my introduction to banjo.
And, if the exercise that Fiddlin' Red gave me to work on for the week is any indication of what it's like to learn the first half of an actual song, Old Joe could die off before we get to be bosom buddies.
Still, I'm struggling along as a newbie trying to direct fingers with minds of their own.
Occasionally, the rhythm exercise sounds kinda pretty. Occasionally, I just slap the banjo to stop the cacophony.
I knew there would be some physical conditioning involved in learning to play the banjo, but I was thinking more in terms of the fingers that have to first "find" the right string and then hold down that string to produce a note.
I hadn't thought much about the wrist on my right hand. First, my right hand and wrist have enjoyed of lifetime of near idleness in comparison to my left.
Fiddlin' Red sez it's hard to find a left-handed banjo. And, when you do, you pay a lot of money.
So, my right hand has been called in to action, and, after several sessions of pluckin' and strummin' yesterday, the wrist started screaming over the banjo.
Too bad, I say.
When you've had basically 65 years, leading the life of leisure, it's time to get to work.
So, I'll suffer for a while.
Fiddlin' Red sez I don't have to push down so hard on the strings with my big fat fingers, but Fiddlin' Red doesn't know about my arthritic mandible which stems from an ever clenched jaw.
Intensity will always be a factor in my banjo playing, I'm afraid, so the fingers on my left hand had better get used to those sharp strings.
In the meantime, Old Joe and I will continue to work on some get-acquainted sessions, and it will be interesting if Fiddlin Red even recognizes Old Joe when I take the Marianne Love version of Old Joe back to next week's lesson.
All in all, though, I'm sticking to what Fiddlin Red sez is most important: I'm having fun.
Speaking of some more fun, the old and young Loves had a good time at the Cedar Street Bridge last night sampling La Fonda's Mexican cuisine.
Bella, whom we've gotten to know over the past few months, opened up her restaurant just before Christmas.
Before we got there, someone pointed out that La Fonda must have come from the character in Bill's favorite movie Napoleon Dynamite.
But Bella quickly pointed out that her restaurant name has a different spelling from "Lafonda," and that it can mean many things in Spanish---but "small town or inn" fits in the mix.
We enjoyed our dinners---Debbie had taco salad; Bill and I, chicken enchiladas and Willie enjoyed his tacos---which looked more like the tacos I saw in Mexico City than most that we see around this area.
Good flavors and good meal.
And, one more thing on this Saturday morning: when I read a newspaper brief to Bill this morning about former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards having his own reality show, Bill listened intently-----especially to the part where Edwin Edwards (85 years old) has married a 34-year-old. A bit Hugh Hefnerish, if you ask me.
The governor spent several years as a "guest" of the Federal government in Bill's hometown of Oakdale.
He was released a year or so ago and now, according to the news report, has resumed his "lavish" lifestyle.
Part of the major challenge in the reality series is for the new young wifie to deal with stepdaughters twice her age.
When I named off the Edwards daughters, Bill emphasized that one of them, Anna, a divorcee, is the same age as Bill and his twin sister Margaret.
"She was Margaret's roommate [at college] for a while," Bill informed me.
You can bet we'll be tuning in to watch this show, and I'm betting Margaret will too!
Happy Saturday. GO ZAGS tonight against a tough team from Santa Clara.