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Thursday Night Banjo Night.... broke a string.

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Thursday night banjo night! and I'm in the shed. It's down, close to 20° likely 10° in an hour or two. A balmy 48° in here, I could crank the old kerosene heater to 60° but I'm cheap. And it's kinda like a dodge truck I had one time, I mean cranking it to 60 on a hill was just asking for trouble. So I get into mischief on the Views Forum, give Ma Betty a hug and try to leave something to make SteveO. spit his coffee through his nose in the morning. Tough job, but somebody's got to do it. :shrug:

And I've closed that off, and sitting here fixing to mind my own business, pick up the banjo, tune the first string........PLANG and it breaks. And I'm sitting here thinking, dang, but kept a set of strings last time I strung some strings (geesh note to self.... that's not so bad.....got a set of strings, last time I strung some strings...) dang, just broke a string on the banjo.

So I dug out the old set of strings (put them in the compartment in the case), and untangled the one I needed out of the pack, got it back to the banjo and said damn.

I said damn, cause I sat there holding that wound up old string in my hand and was gone.

Gone in an instant, back to a time, gosh, gotta get a pencil... back 60, 70, 80, 90, 2000, '10, '20.. '22.... 22 to 80 = back 42 years.

It's 1980, I'm on a beach in Californa. I'm living there, on the beach, fancy mansions in the hills, and I'm living on the beach. Ha! And I got big bushy head of sunbleached blonde hair, I'm tanned like an indian, cause I am one I'm told. And I'm holding a coiled up chunk of broken guitar string, walking through the dark between the campfires, looking for a group of Swiss bike tourists who somebody said had a guitar. Thought they might have an old one tucked away in the compartment of their case. Found the Swiss, but I think they were German, though it wouldn't make any difference to me. Didn't understand a word they said, but there I met my wife.

Yeah, no shit, right there holding that guitar string in my hand. But that's another story. What I was thinking about was the guy whose guitar that string was off a. His name was Randy and he was my friend.

Randy and I became friends, gosh just a day after I stumbled up that beach into the state park campground. Spent the night before, sleeping on the dunes, but in the morning was intercepted by State Rangers. These people were decent folks, not much older than I was, and when I showed ID and told them my story, we chatted and then they kindly directed me to the campground, otherwise it was a ticket for sleeping on the beach. I lived in that campground for close to two months. Five bucks a night, a pretty good deal, a shower, a bathroom, a spiked exit to keep anyone from coming in through the out door. And right on the beach, with a blue, blue ocean and only white sand as far as eye can see. Five bucks a night for paradise man.

I had an small orange tent... ok, how stupid is that?.... but it was small and dry and what I had when I left, and I never used it anyway, usually just sleeping under a tree or on that ledge under overpasses if it was raining. Dang, who in their right mind would be setting up a bright orange flag saying, "hey, here I is!" But in a campground, that was different, five bucks a night made you ligit, and you didn't mind setting up camp. Course, when settling in, neighbours are important, so you kinda take a look, and as I was taking a look, I met Randy.

Randy was my brother, I knew that the minute I saw him and I think he saw that too. Two strangers from two completely different worlds, and immediately you knew. I'm not talking any weird stuff, don't even start down that path, I'm talking brothers, like David and Johnathon, faithful friends, friends to the end and more than friends, brothers. And he had a guitar.

Now I loved guitar, wasn't ever good, but I'd play chords and write songs... funny songs sometimes, sometimes not so much. When I went travelling, seemed to bulky lugging along a guitar, maybe could have I guess, but I was travelling light. I'd pump down the road for hours, pack on my back, not trying to hitch a ride, just walking along and singing away to the beat of my work boots thumping the ground and the wind through the trees and the birds singing and a train roaring by all filled in the music so sweet. No it wasn't drugs, cause I didn't carry drugs, I'm as legit as legit can be, gotta be that way, otherwise the next time an officer pulls you over, that's the end of the ride.

So I didn't carry a guitar, but whenever I met somebody who had one, we'd have something to talk about. Man, some guys can sure make a guitar talk, and most times I just sat and listened with my mouth hanging open. Anyway, Randy had a guitar and when we started talking about that we ended up sharing a campsite. Now it's $5 every other night. By the time I left there, there were 4 tents and 5, sometimes 6 other people living on that site. Now we're living in paradise for a dollar a day, with people who have become like family. Good deal.

Randy was a vet and served in the Marines and in the Army Corps of Engineers. That was before I knew him. He had a wife, once, and a kid, but that was before too. Randy had a face, you'd remember it if you saw it.... decent and pleasant enough guy yet could make himself look like the devil. Good trick and he used it when he had to. I'm serious, the first night I met him, after I set up my tent and laid out my stuff and joined him at the campfire, he said, watch this, I can make myself look like the devil. And holy crap, in the firelight reflected on his face, there across from me sat the devil. Then he straightend out his face again and laughed and said, told ya!

I kid you not, the guy could make himself look like the devil, yet he was a decent man, a very kind and thoughtful man, a man with scars, and a guitar.

So Randy and I would sit up at night and play guitar. He knew some Neil Young stuff and I was Canadian and could tell him about "a town in North Ontario... big birds flying across the sky" and that sort of stuff, so that was cool. He played Dylan, "but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" and that was cool too. When he passed the guitar to me, I started rattling off a travelling ditty... "I've been sitting here, dreaming 'bout dixie....... think I found a cure, it damned near fixed me..... " he laughed when I sang it through, and asked who wrote it, and I said, guess it was me. And we were brothers for ever more. Randy was a lot of things, but in his heart, he was a Christian. Like I said, brothers for ever more.

2 months, heck don't seem like that much these days. Gosh, these days, you get to the middle of the month and it's gone. Hell and getting to the middle is nothing.... a day, four days, a week, two weeks, turn the calendar. It's crazy. Aw, but back then, what you could pack into a day, let alone a week, two months! I could go on two years what was packed into those two months, heck 20 years, 20 years later those days are so full they're still crowding out days here and now.

So one night, the string on Randy's guitar broke. I broke it, just like I did the string tonight. I wasn't tightening it into the stratosphere... just normal and THANG. :blink: Cripes in all these year, only happened to me twice. So I'm sitting here with a looped up old guitar string in my hand and thinking.

Yeah, so there we are, somewhere out between the fires, there on that beach in california, night breeze blowing in off the ocean. A dollar a day in paradise. Here's this girl with the biggest, brownest eyes you ever seen in your life, sitting with her knees to her chin in the light of the campfire and there I'm standing my mouth wide open, that old guitar sting in my hand. Anybody speak englsh? And she blinks and nods.

So back at the fire are Randy, Bob and Gwen from Conneticut, Jack from New Jersey, and Wayne, not his real, real name, from who knows where the Mormons where after him from, and Tim the artist from the restaurant. The poet and that bunch, a few campsites over... and I'm on the other side of the campsite, just slayed. You ever fall in love... I mean, really fall.... like falling off a ladder, or a roof, or just wandering along and off the edge of a cliff. Hi, I'm Steve.... Hi, Im Kate. but that's a different story.

.......
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Thursday night banjo night! ate. but that's a different story.

.......
Holy crap.... Guv's got a thing on here where you can't make a post over 10,000 characters... goodness, Guv, cramp my style! :p Anyway, had to split it up, here's the rest...
We had a grand Christmas dinner at the fancy restaurant at the yaght club that year. This was hoity-toity joint, and we were given the best seats in the house and the choice of the menu, no charge. No shit, we were, the scrubbiest bunch you ever laid eyes on. Randy and I spent Christmas on a bus. It was raining and everything was soaked, and we rode just to stay warm and had a chrismas breakfast along the way. Then I chased that gal down to Mexico.

I returned once, and Randy and Gwen and Bob and Tim from the restaurant had rented a house together, had a gas fireplace and all, just up from the beach. They were doing good.

I returned one more time, on a bike this time, and Randy had the Harley he always talked about. The house was gone, so had Bob and Gwen and Tim. But we cruised the coast highway, highway 1. And that's the last I ever saw or heard of him.

When the internet came out, bout christmas every year, I'd try to look Randy up. Knew his name and last name, where he worked when I left, but that was about it. Had his mother's number and talked to her one time, but she didn't know me and I tried to talk, but she just hung up and I never bothered her again. I talked to a few people with the same name, but they ain't him. Kept trying every year, just something I done, on a night kinda just like this. With a broken string no less.

So what do you do with a broken guitar string, hell, you're in tough shape brother, but with a broken banjo sting, I got 4 more just willing to dance along even if they're missing one leg. Dont' stop them one bit from jumping and whriling and flailing about, not one bit. As much as they miss their brother, they're singing their little hearts out for him. That's the thing about a banjo.

This year, for the first time in 40 years, I found my brother again. Not him, but a memorial to him, put up by an army buddy. Showed pictures of him when he was a kid, with his mom and his dad, who was also a veteran. With a new wife and baby from a time after I knew him. HIm holding his son in his arms by the ocean. And a memorial to his death. Damn, the world is a smaller place somehow, so much bigger when I knew there was someone else out there who knew all this.

Rest in peace, my brother, Randy. The coin that won't get tossed. We'll meet again one day, and I wanna see that trick again where you make yourself look like the devil! :LOL:

Edited to say.... I did not reread or proofread or spell check or nothing. It is banjo night and don't care, so just hit "post reply" Make of it anythign you want. :p
 

Florida Son

Active member
Thanks for taking us on this trip, guess we all know a brother like Randy, ATB.
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Thanks for taking us on this trip, guess we all know a brother like Randy, ATB.
Thank you, Florida son. I once met a fellow in Florida, up in the Manatee springs.... the manatee were swimming in a pool there, in a place where Ponce de Leon once looked for the fountain of youth. The fellow I talked to was camping with his younger brother, his dream was to be a bush pilot. Wonder if he ever did?
 

sasquache

Well-known member
Thursday night banjo night! and I'm in the shed. It's down, close to 20° likely 10° in an hour or two. A balmy 48° in here, I could crank the old kerosene heater to 60° but I'm cheap. And it's kinda like a dodge truck I had one time, I mean cranking it to 60 on a hill was just asking for trouble. So I get into mischief on the Views Forum, give Ma Betty a hug and try to leave something to make SteveO. spit his coffee through his nose in the morning. Tough job, but somebody's got to do it. :shrug:

And I've closed that off, and sitting here fixing to mind my own business, pick up the banjo, tune the first string........PLANG and it breaks. And I'm sitting here thinking, dang, but kept a set of strings last time I strung some strings (geesh note to self.... that's not so bad.....got a set of strings, last time I strung some strings...) dang, just broke a string on the banjo.

So I dug out the old set of strings (put them in the compartment in the case), and untangled the one I needed out of the pack, got it back to the banjo and said damn.

I said damn, cause I sat there holding that wound up old string in my hand and was gone.

Gone in an instant, back to a time, gosh, gotta get a pencil... back 60, 70, 80, 90, 2000, '10, '20.. '22.... 22 to 80 = back 42 years.

It's 1980, I'm on a beach in Californa. I'm living there, on the beach, fancy mansions in the hills, and I'm living on the beach. Ha! And I got big bushy head of sunbleached blonde hair, I'm tanned like an indian, cause I am one I'm told. And I'm holding a coiled up chunk of broken guitar string, walking through the dark between the campfires, looking for a group of Swiss bike tourists who somebody said had a guitar. Thought they might have an old one tucked away in the compartment of their case. Found the Swiss, but I think they were German, though it wouldn't make any difference to me. Didn't understand a word they said, but there I met my wife.

Yeah, no shit, right there holding that guitar string in my hand. But that's another story. What I was thinking about was the guy whose guitar that string was off a. His name was Randy and he was my friend.

Randy and I became friends, gosh just a day after I stumbled up that beach into the state park campground. Spent the night before, sleeping on the dunes, but in the morning was intercepted by State Rangers. These people were decent folks, not much older than I was, and when I showed ID and told them my story, we chatted and then they kindly directed me to the campground, otherwise it was a ticket for sleeping on the beach. I lived in that campground for close to two months. Five bucks a night, a pretty good deal, a shower, a bathroom, a spiked exit to keep anyone from coming in through the out door. And right on the beach, with a blue, blue ocean and only white sand as far as eye can see. Five bucks a night for paradise man.

I had an small orange tent... ok, how stupid is that?.... but it was small and dry and what I had when I left, and I never used it anyway, usually just sleeping under a tree or on that ledge under overpasses if it was raining. Dang, who in their right mind would be setting up a bright orange flag saying, "hey, here I is!" But in a campground, that was different, five bucks a night made you ligit, and you didn't mind setting up camp. Course, when settling in, neighbours are important, so you kinda take a look, and as I was taking a look, I met Randy.

Randy was my brother, I knew that the minute I saw him and I think he saw that too. Two strangers from two completely different worlds, and immediately you knew. I'm not talking any weird stuff, don't even start down that path, I'm talking brothers, like David and Johnathon, faithful friends, friends to the end and more than friends, brothers. And he had a guitar.

Now I loved guitar, wasn't ever good, but I'd play chords and write songs... funny songs sometimes, sometimes not so much. When I went travelling, seemed to bulky lugging along a guitar, maybe could have I guess, but I was travelling light. I'd pump down the road for hours, pack on my back, not trying to hitch a ride, just walking along and singing away to the beat of my work boots thumping the ground and the wind through the trees and the birds singing and a train roaring by all filled in the music so sweet. No it wasn't drugs, cause I didn't carry drugs, I'm as legit as legit can be, gotta be that way, otherwise the next time an officer pulls you over, that's the end of the ride.

So I didn't carry a guitar, but whenever I met somebody who had one, we'd have something to talk about. Man, some guys can sure make a guitar talk, and most times I just sat and listened with my mouth hanging open. Anyway, Randy had a guitar and when we started talking about that we ended up sharing a campsite. Now it's $5 every other night. By the time I left there, there were 4 tents and 5, sometimes 6 other people living on that site. Now we're living in paradise for a dollar a day, with people who have become like family. Good deal.

Randy was a vet and served in the Marines and in the Army Corps of Engineers. That was before I knew him. He had a wife, once, and a kid, but that was before too. Randy had a face, you'd remember it if you saw it.... decent and pleasant enough guy yet could make himself look like the devil. Good trick and he used it when he had to. I'm serious, the first night I met him, after I set up my tent and laid out my stuff and joined him at the campfire, he said, watch this, I can make myself look like the devil. And holy crap, in the firelight reflected on his face, there across from me sat the devil. Then he straightend out his face again and laughed and said, told ya!

I kid you not, the guy could make himself look like the devil, yet he was a decent man, a very kind and thoughtful man, a man with scars, and a guitar.

So Randy and I would sit up at night and play guitar. He knew some Neil Young stuff and I was Canadian and could tell him about "a town in North Ontario... big birds flying across the sky" and that sort of stuff, so that was cool. He played Dylan, "but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" and that was cool too. When he passed the guitar to me, I started rattling off a travelling ditty... "I've been sitting here, dreaming 'bout dixie....... think I found a cure, it damned near fixed me..... " he laughed when I sang it through, and asked who wrote it, and I said, guess it was me. And we were brothers for ever more. Randy was a lot of things, but in his heart, he was a Christian. Like I said, brothers for ever more.

2 months, heck don't seem like that much these days. Gosh, these days, you get to the middle of the month and it's gone. Hell and getting to the middle is nothing.... a day, four days, a week, two weeks, turn the calendar. It's crazy. Aw, but back then, what you could pack into a day, let alone a week, two months! I could go on two years what was packed into those two months, heck 20 years, 20 years later those days are so full they're still crowding out days here and now.

So one night, the string on Randy's guitar broke. I broke it, just like I did the string tonight. I wasn't tightening it into the stratosphere... just normal and THANG. :blink: Cripes in all these year, only happened to me twice. So I'm sitting here with a looped up old guitar string in my hand and thinking.

Yeah, so there we are, somewhere out between the fires, there on that beach in california, night breeze blowing in off the ocean. A dollar a day in paradise. Here's this girl with the biggest, brownest eyes you ever seen in your life, sitting with her knees to her chin in the light of the campfire and there I'm standing my mouth wide open, that old guitar sting in my hand. Anybody speak englsh? And she blinks and nods.

So back at the fire are Randy, Bob and Gwen from Conneticut, Jack from New Jersey, and Wayne, not his real, real name, from who knows where the Mormons where after him from, and Tim the artist from the restaurant. The poet and that bunch, a few campsites over... and I'm on the other side of the campsite, just slayed. You ever fall in love... I mean, really fall.... like falling off a ladder, or a roof, or just wandering along and off the edge of a cliff. Hi, I'm Steve.... Hi, Im Kate. but that's a different story.

.......
Awesome Story always wanted too learn how to play a Banjo how would one start?
 

Steve(Can)

Well-known member
Awesome Story always wanted too learn how to play a Banjo how would one start?

Get yourself a banjo, sasquache, and have fun!

First banjo I bought from a gal who said it was her mother's. Her mother must have loved that banjo, cause it had grooves worn right into the neck from that lady playing it. I just followed those grooves with my fingers and plunked away and immediately old songs started coming out of that banjo... it's true! On Top of Old Smokey, Working on the Railroad, She'll be coming around the mountain... and hymns, goodness that lady loved hymns, cause it was right full of old tyme hymns... and Christmas songs, all the old favorites, all right there, worn right into that old banjo like a song is embedded in an LP!

Get yourself a banjo, sasquache, and if it ain't got grooves worn into the fret board, I'll show you where the grooves were worn into mine! :thumbup:
 
Last edited:

Gold Buddy

Well-known member
Get yourself a banjo, sasquache, and have fun!

First banjo I bought from a gal who said it was her mother's. Her mother must have loved that banjo, cause it had grooves worn right into the neck from that lady playing it. I just followed those grooves with my fingers and plunked away and immediately old songs started coming out of that banjo... it's true! On Top of Old Smokey, Working on the Railroad, She'll be coming around the mountain... and hymns, goodness that lady loved hymns, cause it was right full of old tyme hymns... and Christmas songs, all the old favorites, all right there, worn right into that old banjo like a song is embedded in an LP!

Get yourself a banjo, sasquache, and if it ain't got grooves worn into the fret board, I'll show you where the grooves were worn into mine! :thumbup:
Steve your only need one string
 

Micheal_R

Moderator
Staff member
Good to see some posts still coming Steve.

a good tale indeed

fair winds

Micheal
 

hawgdawg

Well-known member
Yep ,, really cool story ,, and had me drifting back a ways myself. Although, not quite as majestic as your story tho.
An old buddy and me made a quick trail out of town one night ,, he had a pick up truck ,, we threw what we had in the back and took off .
We ended up at a beach also ,, we had a little money,, not much ,, but enough to get by on till we got a job. We couldn't stay on the beach there ,, but we rented a storage unit for 30 or 40 bucks a month,, can't actually remember ,,, I guess it was about 43 yrs ago. Anyway,, we lived in that storage unit for about 2 months,, it had a light bulb in it ,, so we put one of them doodads in that we could plug a cord into,,, and bam ,,,, stereo,,, 2 couches from the goodwill for sitting during the day ,, and sleeping at night . We didn't rough it as much as you did SteveC .
We would head down to the fishing pier to park ,, walk a short ways down the beach and walk up into one of those KOA campgrounds with a towel,,, looking like one of their paying customers ,, and to the bath house we'd go ,, cleaned up and ready for a night on the town .
One night out on the beach at a little bon fire ,, a few people were gathered around ,, we walked up , and joined the party. Met this little gal ,, long , pretty black hair . A few nights later , found it to be just past the crack of her butt.
That lasted almost a year ,, and hit the road again for a little while ,,, till I decided to settle down a little ,,, and joined the Marine Corps . People say I was crazy ,, but ,, I joined the Corps just to buy a Harley ,,, and see if I could make it thru the Corps . When I got out of the Corps ,,, I spent some time road tripping for a while .
But I'll get them Deja Vu moments at times ,,, thinking of someone I've met on the road before ,, and I'll wonder ,, if that person in that moment is having the same thought .
And strangely ,, like your friend that you searched for years later ,,, I had a similar thing happen .
A guy I met at the beach ,, he lived there,, we became pretty good friends ,,, and I always wondered what happened to him . And then one day I was reading my monthly Easyriders magazine,,, and in that magazine,,, was an advertisement for a biker poker run and fundraiser for the guy I had met and become friends with some 25 or so years earlier . He had died in a motorcycle accident,, hit by a car .
Funny how life goes around sometimes .
 
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