Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In conclusion...

I often hear autobiographers comment that the process of recounting one's life is "cathartic" or "healing."

I lean more toward "time consuming."

Even though I focused on a single aspect of my past, and just hit the highlights, it has gone on for months, has it not?  Enough already.  Besides, I'm out of names to drop, so the rest is just work history.

We left Tucson in the late 80s for the East Coast, traveling by van and travel trailer.  My firstborn son, Dylan, and I had seen a hot rhythm and blues duo at the Tucson Street Fair who employed a washtub bass that actually played like an instrument.  We looked at each other and said, "Let's try that!"

It worked.  Dylan (19 at the time) got the knack right away, and we began rehearsing to convert my comedy-laden single into a father/son act.  We had particular success in the Denver area, and busking at the Boulder Mall.  Folks were loving the very idea, and we had a rich future of intergenerational comedic possibilities.

Leaving Colorado we had a choice of highways east.  One led through a little town called Branson, Missouri, according to ads in the tourist guides, a town completely devoted to the "Ozark" way of life, with hillbilly comedy revues and tons of bluegrass and country music.  We just didn't see how we'd fit in, and chose the other route.  Not long after that, Ray Stevens, Andy Williams, and a Japanese fiddler all opened theaters there.  In Columbus, Ohio, Dylan traded in his washtub for a girl and I was a single again.

Though I (and Judy and I) have performed hundreds of places--festivals, fairs, concerts--I think the peak experience for me was performing for 2500 troops waiting in the staging area at Aberdeen, Maryland to embark for the Persian Gulf War.  The radio station Judy was working on air for (WAMD) put on a USO-type show for them, rounding up all the talent and special guests they could, and it was a great time.  They were so appreciative, they made every one of us performers feel like a really big hit, and when it was over, we felt like we had done something good.  And off they went.

Cut to the north woods of Michigan, where we were homeschooling our daughters in the mid 90s.  For a music project for the girls, we put together a little family band.
Judy, whom I had never heard sing "out loud" before, began to sing with the girls.
That's how I discovered her, and now she's the star of the show.

Thanks to those who expressed any interest at all in these recollections.  I hope I did not misconstrue mere acknowledgement as encouragement, and did not drive away many of our several followers.

In recent years, we've been to Branson a few times--a couple to perform; but the highlight of our Branson experiences (including the Hughes Family show, which is amazing!) was getting to see Jim Stafford perform with his family in their own theater.  That being said, here's how we remember him best:

(Thanks to Alan Hillberg for sharing this vid!  Check out his channel on YouTube.)

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