Sing the Banjo! Skip To My Lou and the Red River Valley

Today we look at the first two songs in The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo. Go Tell Aunt Rhody and The Red River Valley . . . at least that was the plan. Somewhere along the line I wound up singing Skip To My Lou instead. Working too hard this week.

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Tiny Happiness

I was just out filling the bird feeder. To my joy and surprise, a female ruby-throated hummingbird flew out of the zinnia patch and watched me do my chores from the safety of our pecan tree.

I think she was drinking nectar from the morning glory vines that ran wild through the garden this summer.

 What a blessing to have such a visitor on a mild September morning.

I guess I should start carrying my camera when I feed the birds at the start of the day.

Next Week

The Daily Frail is making a comeback as a daily workshop series! We will be adding a twist for our Patreon sponsors,

Our other new project is a return to basics.

Right now we have 743 videos on YouTube. While there are a couple of  basic frailing lessons, it can be almost impossible for beginners to navigate our massive collection.

With that in mind we are launching Frailing Banjo 101. The series will take you from setting up your banjo all the way to advanced jamming techniques.

Keep an eye on and/or for more information.

Get Busy Living

Amy’s favorite movie was The Shawshank Redemption. I think we watched it just about every time it was on, and she had the DVD too. I was not a big fan of the film, but I could  do a good impression of Morgan Freeman describing the escape: Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of @#$% smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to.

After a while, I started doing Morgan Freeman’s 500 yards bit to narrate whenever we had to clean up something gross. Like cleaning our hedgehog cage. It drove her crazy – but I had a way of driving Amy crazy. The first time I made dinner in her kitchen I set the stove on fire. 

Another quote from Shawshank has been running through my mind for the past few days: Get busy living or get busy dying.

A close friend contacted me to remind me to take care of myself. He was not alone. Other friends and several strangers have reached out to ask me to be careful not to allow my grief to alter my recovery.

When I came home to Crisfield a few years ago I weighed 300 lbs, my blood sugar was out of control, my blood pressure was sky high, I had peripheral neuropathy so bad that I was unable to walk and I was on a staggering amount of prescription pain medication.

The pain medication came from a slew of different doctors and surgeons. I never intentionally took too much of the stuff. I just had too many doctors over-medicating me.

It took a monumental effort to get clean, lose weight and get back on my feet. The process is still in motion as I am still on a diet and still on a Suboxone program.

Doctors are also making progress helping me with my seizures and migraine headaches.

My heart may be broken, but I have to keep working on myself, teaching, making music and finding new avenues for my creativity.

Folks on my mother’s side of the family regularly live well into their 90’s and beyond. I could have a lot of time ahead of me!

Here are a few things I would like to do over the next fifty years or so:

  • Continue writing and teaching.
  • Finish the Blues Project.
  • Visit my family and friends in the UK and Spain.
  • Learn to Juggle.
  • Learn to play the piano.
  • Swim with otters.
  • Learn to bake bread.
  • Take some art classes.
  • See the redwoods.
  • See the aurora borealis and/or the aurora australis.
  • Convince my friends/readers/students to plant milkweed, parsley and butterfly bushes to help monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies and clearwing moths.
  • See the night sky in the desert.
  • Hold workshops for my friends in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania +  The Guildford Banjo Jamboree
  • See as much of Canada as I can.

I know for sure I will check off one or two things off of my list and there are other things listed here that are next to impossible for me because of my health. A goal is nothing more than something to get you out the door starting on your adventure.

I will love and miss Amy to my dying day and beyond, but I have to keep on living. After everything I have been through, I am so blessed that I can still get excited over daydreams and inspire people to sing along.

I am going to be okay.

God bless each and every one of you.

Patrick Costello
Crisfield, Maryland