Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority. - William Jennings Bryan

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Thanks To A Legend

I recently won a trivia contest on Jesse McReynolds's website ( ), and, as the prize, I won a free CD. Jesse McReynolds is a 41-year member of the historic Grand Ole Opry, and a legendary bluegrass musician. I chose the 2001 CD Jesse recorded with his late brother Jim as the historic group "Jim and Jesse" called "Our Kind of Country." Jim and Jesse traditionally played only bluegrass (with occasional Chuck Berry and The Doors songs tossed in), but this CD covered 12 1960's honky tonk country songs with the feel and sound of the vintage country era. He and his wonderful wife, Joy, also sent me a book, "Blue Moon of kentucky" a photo collection by photographer Les Leverett, autographed by both Leverett and Mr. McReynolds.

Since Jim's death in 2002, Jesse, now 76, has soldiered on, releasing 3 CD's ("New Horizons," "Bending The Rules," and "A Tribute to Brother Duets") and still performs several dozen shows a year.

It was at a show in 2004 in Coeburn, Virginia when I first met him. But my family and his had been connected since long before that; He and his brother were childhood friends of my maternal grandmother in their hometown of Coeburn. In 1950, when my aunt was just born, Jim and Jesse's sister sewed her first baby blanket and baby outfit.

And, on an extremely personal note, and one I seldom speak of, when I was on my deathbed in 1992 from kidney failure (I was closer to death than I care to admit for 18 days), my father was waiting in the Emergency Room waiting area at the old Bristol Hospital. Jim and Jesse happened to be there because of their sister (who sewed my aunt's blanket) who was in extremely ill health at the time. He began talking to them, and the three talked for about twenty minutes before Jesse led them in prayer for me.

I've kind of got off on a tangent here, but I've always wanted to get this "thank you" out in the open. Not just for the CD and book (which I do appreciate), but for the kindness shown to a worried family over a decade ago.


Kate said...

Sorry, this is off-topic. But, yes I took some of your surveys. I have to know why I ended up Bill Clinton and not Jimmy Carter. Is it because I insisted on boring my dinner partner with the history of the fork?

And I hate to reveal just how much of I geek I am but is there a Star Wars one?

Neal said...

That was very liekly it (although, I do wonder where it came from...did it evolve from sporks?)

I searched on quizilla "star wars" and got a whole bunch of surveys. A couple I found were "what color lightsaber would you have" and "which episode I character are you".

For the record, I got the green one, and I was Mace Windu

Shaula Evans said...

Neal, I've had the pleasant suprise several times in my life of being on hard times and aided or comforted by either total strangers of very casual acquaintances, too. It is great to be reminded that people can be decent and generous to others.

I'm a bluegrass fan, although clearly not as well-versed in it as you are. My mom and dad had Flatt and Scruggs records when we were little--which they insisted on referring to as Furniture and Ruggs. (My parents are wierd.)

Have you see the film Songcatcher? It has a great bluegrass score.

If we ever get to meet in person, I'll have to bring my Mike and Bertye Maddox cd. I made Mike's acquaintance through tech recruiting (long story), and they are great musicians. I suspect you'd like their stuff.

Kate said...

Neal, I love the internet. It makes any dinner party with me guaranteed to be boring.

The History of the Fork