Pickin’ and Grinnin’

Don’t think for a minute that living in a small Texas town is boring! Well, maybe it is; but, we have our share of characters.bluegrass_pickers1.jpg Saturday is a good time to see them all come out of the woodwork, at least here in Denton, Texas.

Last Saturday, my husband and I had one of those rare days alone. It was a drizzly day, and I was busy with blogging and crocheting, so I didn’t want to have to cook breakfast. We decided to head down to the courthouse square to eat at Ruby’s Diner. They have a buffet breakfast that is simple and cheap…serving all the bacon I can eat. Some of y’all might know that I can eat my weight in bacon. That’s a lot!


In front of Ruby’s, we found the “courthouse pickers” jamming together. They have no formal name, it’s really just anyone who wants to join in the fun. Usually, they are over on the courthouse lawn, but because of the drizzle they took shelter under Ruby’s awnings. They were playing bluegrass musicthat had my toes just a tappin’.

When I was a little girl my Daddy and his best friend, E.W. James, often sat at our dining room table to play music. Daddy had his mandolin (which he called a “git-fiddle”) and when they played my little sister and I came running from anywhere we were so we could dance. Bluegrass is “happy music” and I love to hear it.

Fortunately, a few years back I had a friend who would not let me go to a Bluegrass concert. She insisted that I had to go with her to hear a Big Band that was playing in Grapevine; she had to review it for The Fort Worth Star Telegram. I didn’t want to go, but I did. Playing guitar in that swing band was a handsome devil who later became my husband.
Even though I like swing music, I still love to hear me some bluegrass music. We sat by the window in the diner so I could see them and hear them. If you come into this neck of the woods on a Saturday in the summer, bring your lawn chairs or a blanket. You can get some ice cream over at Beth Marie’s Ice Cream Parlor, or some coffee at Jupiter House and enjoy the fun. I’ve told you before that Denton is a “destination.” You might just find you like our little town.

Do y’all have any folks who gather to play music in your town? What kind of music would you sit on the lawn to hear?

  14 comments for “Pickin’ and Grinnin’

  1. June 19, 2007 at 8:34 am

    How cool is that!!! That sounds like so much fun to watch and do! I’ve never seen anything like that here, no, well except at The “El” stations in the city where like homeless or out of work people might be performing and you give them some money.

    Sad. But something like this is awesome! What a cool way to start the day!!


    It was a cool way to start the day. I don’t know if I’d want to sit and listen in the “El” :lol:~skt

  2. June 19, 2007 at 8:50 am

    I love the ‘picturesque’ portrait you paint of your town. We don’t have the same feel living in a city as that, but we do have some good jazz and folk festivals that play in our downtown park.

    My toes are a tap tap tapping just thinking about sitting and listening to the ‘courthouse pickers’. I love music of all types and I think bluegrass really gets your toes a tappin’. I can almost taste the coffee and ice cream.

    You’d probably like it. I haven’t gotten to sit through a whole morning of it, but I sure enjoy when they gather to play~skt

  3. June 19, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Did ya’ll get hit w/ the rain that hit Sherman and Gainsville?

    No we didn’t thankfully. I ‘preciate you asking. My sister lives in Whitesboro and works in Gainesville. She couldn’t get to work in it, of course. I used to live in Gainesville and in 1981 there was a horrible flood…I don’t know how it compares to this one.~skt

  4. June 19, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Unfortunately the only guys who gather in my town to play music are normally drunk…

    By the way I’ve written another one of those blog entries that may just have the power to make you think… You can check it out by clicking on these words here. Amazing thing the internet in’ it 🙂

    Hey, sometimes drunks can make good music! I love your post, by the way, and think that “Cecil” did a fine job of creating you :lol:~skt

  5. June 19, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    No, there isn’t anyone getting together to pick and grin. Looks like fun though. I live is California. You can go to San Francisco and get that but not here. Enjoyed this post very much. Have a great day. 🙂

    OMG Sandee…in San Francisco there is no telling what you will find! My son lives there and it’s crazy. I love it…but it’s crazy!

  6. jen
    June 19, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Oh, I loves me some bluegrass! In fact, it’s mighty quiet here right now, I’m off to turn on XM. 😀

    My husband is in playing guitar right now. Never know what he will play, but I enjoy hearing it~skt

  7. June 19, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    OK, this Denton talk is making me mourn — again — the loss of the Tomato.

    I’ve got to get back there for a visit!

    Well come on! We don’t have any Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the Bird Flu hasn’t broken out here yet (if y’all haven’t seen Arkie Mama’s rants…get over there!). ~skt

  8. June 19, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I used to live in Justin — not far from Denton — but didn’t know about the music on the square. We used to take my daughter to piano lessons and recital at NTSU. Lots of good music there. I’m close to Amarillo now. Tonight we are going to an open-air jazz concert at Amarillo College (yeah, North Texas is known for jazz too). Our town of Canyon has music on the square almost every week this summer. I grew up with music. As a small child we would all gather at my grandparents on Saturdays in the summer and frequently were up until way past midnight making music in the living room. Those were good times. I still play the guitar. Enjoyed the post. Thanks.

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes Justin is not that far…on the other side of Nocona and famous for its cowboy boots! There is a lot of good music here. The NTSU lab band is world famous. But Canyon is lovely! I like it out there near Palo Duro. I’ll have to see if I can drag my husband out there for a trip. Families playing music together is so much fun! And, we hardly do that anymore, do we? Sigh. The good old days~skt

  9. June 19, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    My husband is a banjo player in a band called solstice complex , so our house is occasionally a place people gather to play music. There’s a big bluegrass scene here in Fairbanks, Alaska with two folk festivals a year, lots of acoustic concerts, and local bluegrass and old timey bands playing several nights a week. Pick and grin away!

    I do love it when folks get together to jam. Sounds like you folks get to have a lot of fun! And here I just thought you sat around trying to stay warm all the time. Shows what a Texan doesn’t know about Alaska—doesn’t it! :lol:~skt

  10. June 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    You paint a beautiful picture about your home town. I can’t remember the last time I actually enjoyed going into a town. Isn’t that sad?

    I don’t know much about bluegrass other than it touches my soul(heart?) in the same way gospel and blues music does – so much of spirituality is wrapped up with the cloak of good music. I have especially loved the blues since I ‘found’ it in the mid eighties (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee…awesome) – around this time I saw Albert Collins play at an open air Blues concert in Crystal Palace, UK (yes, I still can’t throw the T shirt away…) – if I shut my eyes, I am there now…..

    As I read your description of the Courthouse Pickers (GREAT name!) , I was right there with you smelling the bacon! The fact that I am not, means I’m sort of depressed but in a nice sort of way, does that make any sense? Probably not!

    Anyway thanks for popping by earlier – friends are welcome anytime, no-one gets prizes for frequency! I’ll mail you a FBT logo tomorrow for the blogroll if I get a chance (I’m a bit busy with the crocheting lessons you understand…)lol.

    Goofy! Would you crochet if I told you that keeping your hands busy will help lose weight? I’d be lying, you understand (I’m quite capable of eating AND crocheting). I appreciate you posting about it on your site. Send me that logo~skt

  11. June 19, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    That’s so great!

    They are pretty good picker, too! And look at that grin!~skt

  12. June 19, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    I miss hearing my brother jam around the house.

    After dinner theatre one night, a few elderly jazz band members happened to be in the audience. They went in the bar afterward and jammed. We were lucky enough to be there to hear them, we witnessed history – it was awesome. Tomorrow I teach myself to crochet that pattern. . . I’ve only ever done a crochet trim around a knit bikini back in the old days.

    I’m lucky enough that my husband plays and I get to hear him occasionally. That must have been a wonderful experience to hear a group of jazz musicians in an informal setting.
    KNIT BIKINI??? I remember those. Marcia, that was a loooong time ago. We must be getting old or something :lol:~skt

  13. June 20, 2007 at 1:15 am

    I can’t play to save my life, but I’m a GREAT listener. Our house is often the spot where people come to play. A few times a year we host these great open-house jams up on the roof (it’s a penthouse, no danger of anyone pitching off a steep slope or anything). It can be anything from bluegrass to folk to traditional to blues to ethnic. I’m just happy to get that front row seat :).

    I KNOW you get to listen! I’ve read about all the great folk singing you get to hear. That must be amazingly fun. :mrgreen: ~skt

  14. June 20, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Your not floating yet r u?

    Naw, but it’s still raining, and the poor folks north and south of us are swimming. I have to drive through some of it today, and I’m none too happy about it!~skt

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