Offline Thursday

Wednesday afternoon I was at the grocery store with Dear Old Dad and I got hit with a bad migraine. It hit so hard and so fast I just about fell over.

It’s so late Wednesday night right now that its Thursday morning, and I still feel like hammered #$%&. I am going to give my brain a slight break and turn off the computers for the day. Stay offline and focus on writing. 

If my brain pain and the weather allows, Dear Old Dad and I are planning to visit Assateague Island on Friday. It is a deeply special place for me, and it’s jut down the road from Crisfield, but I never get to visit now that I can’t drive.

I have other news to share, but it’s late enough to be early and my head hurts really bad. I’m going to watch a bad horror movie. Nights like this call for the big guns, so it’s either The Abominable Dr. Phibes or The Green Slime.That will work as well as meditation to get me rested so that I can write tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you for the kind comments on my recent videos. You are all such amazing people. I will have to work harder to measure up to your kind words.

God bless,

The Work

Dear Old Dad can tell you that once in a while the pain I deal with on an everyday basis gets to me. If it isn’t that then it’s the nightmarish amount of technical stuff I have to handle with on equipment that will stop working if I look at it the wrong way. Add in nonsense from angry people at random intervals and there are moments when I throw my hands up in the air and wonder why I do this job.

I was having one of those moments a few days ago when I ran across an email John in New York sent us in 2008:

Dear Pat and DoD,

I just got married last weekend and although I’ve only been playing
for about 6 months, I belted out a version of “The Wild Rover” at my
big fat Irish wedding.  This was my first performance in public.  It
was one of the scariest things I have ever done (and I’ve jumped out
of airplanes).  The worst happened: I forgot some lyrics and was about
60% as good as I am in private on the banjo.  Guess what?  No one
cared.  The crowd was so into it that they filled in what I forgot and
helped me along.  This was by far one of the highlights of an awesome
reception.  I want to thank you guys for all the services you have
provided that enabled me to do this (and put that look of sheer joy on
my new wife’s face).

Letters like this – pictures like this – moments like these are why I fight through my hearing and seizures and strokes and everything else that gets thrown in my way.

I have a lot of emails, cards and letters like Johns. Stories of men and women who took up the banjo to sing to, for and about the people that they love.

I love my job.



The new gear has arrived, and now I am waiting for the stuff I forgot to include in the original order.

I am making use of the downtime learning to use the new equipment and getting back to writing. 

Yesterday a request came in for a frailing banjo workshop on The Grateful Dead’s Ripple. It works better on the banjo than I expected. I love it when a song surprises me like that. 

Videos will be rolling soon. I can’t wait to show you what we have been working on. We have some really cool stuff in the works!

God bless,

Just A Few Memories

Amy loved having her picture taken, but she rarely allowed me to hang on to the images. As much as she tried, she could never get used to the way I shared day-to-day events with my online students.She saw photographs as something private and I saw the camera as a window to our little world.

In the end, I gave most of my files to Amy. We shared some pictures on the web over the years, but for every pictures that got posted there were a dozen or more that she filed away.

I still have a few folders on my computer, but my main database is my memory. Years from now, when the pain isn’t quite so fresh, I’will sit down with my musical instruments, writing supplies, art supplies or all of the above and find a way to tell our beautiful and sad story.

Between then and now I’ll post some of those hotly debated photographs every now and then.

At  Shenandoah National Park
At  Shenandoah National Park
With Trace Beaulieu and  J. Elvis Weinstein
With Trace Beaulieu and  J. Elvis Weinstein
Testing out closed-caption glasses at the Manassas multiplex
Testing out closed-caption glasses at the Manassas multiplex