This post is a contribution from world renowned podcast celebrity Wichita Rutherford. Be sure to visit his site 5MinutesWithWichita.com to listen to his weekly podcast featuring interviews with bluegrass stars.
Have you ever gotten a look inside somebody”s instrument case? If you ever get a chance get a look. At first glance you”ll just see a picture of a little kid or some scraps of paper and some meaningless junk. Maybe some spare change and some picks. Ask if its OK to look at what they”ve got in there. They”ll be more than happy to share with you what”s in there and why. You”ll find there”s always more than one picture. If it”s a guy”s case, there”s always a picture of his wife or girlfriend. If it”s a girls case, a picture of her husband or boyfriend. Some times you”ll find pictures of little babies, little kids, grandparents and family members. Some are still here with us. Some have already gone home. A lot times you”ll find a picture of a hero. Like Mac Wiseman, Bill Monroe or somebody in the service. Jason Carter has a picture of The Tiger in his case and Tim Stafford has a picture of Doc Watson as well as Tony Rice. Look at one of the little pieces of paper. You”ll find they always have a sentence or two and at the bottom it always says “I love you”. You”ll be surprised at how many pictures of Jesus there”ll be. I”ve even seen a pacifier and an old dog”s collar. A guitar string package with Mutt Lange”s autograph next to an old worn autographed picture from the 50″s of Lester and Earl. Doc Watson”s case always has a recipe somebody”s given him to give to Rosa Lee and Ricky Skaggs always has a Bible verse somebody”s given him before one of his shows that week. These cases are sacred places. Musicians rely on them. They make their living with the old friends protected inside them. And the inside of that case is the last thing they see before they start walking toward the stage; that small scrap of paper, that old picture of their Dad with a flat top haircut, that quarter Bill Monroe gave them when they were a kid and that picture of Jesus their Mom gave them. It all goes with them, in their hearts, on stage. That”s something else. It sure is. It”s the Bluegrass way.