Letters From Camp: Day 1

Hello mudder, hello fadder, here I am at, Camp Granada (RB3, Top Tension, take your pick). The last week-long camps I attended were spent on a cot in a tent, where I learned to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent (my Scoutmaster would be disappointed I had to look that up on the internet). Thankfully, rather than a cot and tent, this week will be spent at the luxurious Best Western Boulder Inn, a three-star accomodation (Dr. Banjo knows that due to my Boy Scout pledge to be thrifty, three stars is all I can afford).

After rising at 5:00 a.m. to drive 5 hours to Cleveland to catch a flight to Denver, connecting in Dallas, (here’s that thrifty trait again, drive 5 hours to save $15.), I had my first encounter with current airport safety measures. I used to fly regularly when I was in private practice with a large law firm. However, since leaving The Firm (yes, you can leave The Firm), the Lincoln County Prosecutor’s office confines its prosecutions to our jurisdiction and hasn’t seen the need to help me grow my frequent flyer account balances.

I know everyone has an opinion, and many unfavorable, about the security measures, and it is a hassle to remove your belt, shoes, etc., but it’s a hassle I’m willing to undergo if it helps lessen the risk that something like 9/11 could happen again. Likewise, I suppose the body scan is uncomfortable for many, the thought that their body is being exposed to a degree, but with a physique like mine, what’s to be embarrassed about? (I would throw in a Seinfeld reference, but it would probably show poor judgment — “It’s real and it’s spectacular”).

The flights were unremarkable, although by dumb luck I learned something I had forgotten — I ended up in the row where the emergency exit is located, which gives you an extra 18 inches of leg room — a fair tradeoff for being the first to be sucked out the hatch if the door seal is compromised. I’m also pleased to report that although peanuts are no longer free, soft drinks still are.

The best thing about the trip is that I wrote two songs, both of which I think are going to be keepers. I didn’t really plan to write (what happened to Always Be Prepared), so I ended up scribbling on the margins of a USA Today, which I plan to keep to put up for sale on Ebay, or donation to the Hall of Fame.

I had no trouble drifting off to sleep at 10:00 p.m. Mountain time, which my body was telling me translates to Midnight in the Mountain State of West Virginia. Likewise, my body said it’s time to get up, even though it was 4:00 a.m. local time, so I expect to be filing my daily reports each morning on the preceding day’s activities.

Today I meet Dr. Banjo, Pete Wernick, and I’ve already got another song idea — The Day I Met The Banjo Man.

Tune in tomorrow, same banjo time, same banjo channel.

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About the Author

James Gabehart

Jim has been playing the banjo, and other string instruments for nearly 40 years. Since joining the musicians union and becoming a performing musician at the age of 15, he won five West Virginia State Banjo Championships, as well as dozens of other competitions, and has taught hundreds of students. Jim was elected as Prosecuting Attorney for Lincoln County, WV in November 2012, and is an active touring performer with his wife and musical partner, Valerie. Learn more about their music at www.JimandValerieGabehart.com.