What a wonderful day!

September 25, 2019

Ridgecrest Conference Center

Black Mountain, NC

September 25, 2019



Yesterday was unbelievably exciting and enjoyable.


First, after the bear incident, we surveyed the John C. Campbell School of Folk Art. It’s phenomenal. The facility sprawls over dozens of acres with dorms, arts and crafts room dedicated to the specific crafts, and even a blacksmith shop. 


Take a look at their catalogue. Hundreds of courses on all manner of things. I’m visiting because I want to come for a couple of weeks and take a course on playing the hammered dulcimer, and a pen and ink wash course. Because it’s in the mountains I wanted to see if it was handicap friendly enough that I could navigate the campus.


I can...if I actually decide to go, Lots of pros and cons, but a lot of it will depend on two things...if I decide I can leave Tito JāBear for the three weeks it would take, and second, am I able to drive myself. Time will tell. I’m expecting to be full recovered by the end of the year. 


Leaving Brasstown we wound through the Nantahala National Forest again, following a beautiful stream. In high season it must be a nightmare. I finally lost count of all the rafting companies touting the greatest adventure on earth. The stream must be controlled flow, like the Ocoee where we used to go, because it was mostly inch deep rapids that didn’t look deep enough to float anything, much less a fully loaded whitewater raft. 


And once again, the mountain views were breathtaking. I am really conflicted. Growing up in West Texas I love, and crave, being able to see miles into the distance. Then again, water is such a healing force I love the ocean...or a lake...or a stream. And the mountains...such beauty. Ain’t God wonderful?


The day just kept getting better and better. Arriving in Black Mountain we went to the cabin where Chris will be staying. It is way, and I mean way up a gravel mountain road. The directions to the cabin include instructions to ignore the “Do Not Trespass” sign, and the second one that says, “What don’t you understand about Trespass.” It’s a wonderful little place that will be perfect for him to work from while I’m at the Conference.


I think I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but I’ve decided to start playing the hammered dulcimer again. I bought mine in 1975 and it has been stored most of the time. I’ve brought it with me to Asheville to see if it can be restored. There have been tremendous advances in dulcimer design since then so I decided to see about buying a new one. I started to write out my rationale for the decision but realized “If you want to do something, one excuse is as good as another” and you could probably care less.


The way this get woven in -- I got to meet one of the nicest people you’d ever want to have in your life...Joshua Messick. Not only is he an astounding professional hammered dulcimer player, he loves God and has all his priorities in order...sharing his gift and the love of God through music--but his family comes first. The instrument I finally bought was one he had used as a demo for the manufacturer, MasterWorks. Since they make several different models, and this was a professional model, I called him to ask about the choice. Surprise of surprises...he not only answered the phone but spent time with me talking about the different options. And when he found out I was coming to Asheville invited me to meet him...at his home no less, which is really his sanctuary away from the madness that goes with being a professional musician. I was



He turned out to be as gracious in person as he had been over the phone. He and Chris are both technophobes, so they hit it off and they spent time on the technical side of his business. I got blessed with watching him play in person, but got a lesson to boot! And to play his personal dulcimer while he and Chris explored his recording studio. 


Could life get any better? Sure enough, better and better. Upon checking into the Center, I found out that SAMS, the organization with which I’m attending New Wineskins, was having a retreat for their missionaries. I didn’t know they were having the retreat and they didn’t know I was arriving so early, but graciously invited me to join them. Since I had plans for the evening and the next day, I was declined, but was blessed that they would invite me.


And then the real treat. dinner with my friends from the Danube River cruise. They are such wonderful people. Cathy, especially, took me under her wing (as I mentioned in the blog on the trip) and was a real blessing. Jeff and Chris are both big car buffs, so they hit it off immediately and spent the evening talking shop. Cathy is taking me to Song of the Wood tomorrow so Chris can work, which is a real gift to both of us.


To keep my chronology straight, I'm writing about Tuesday on Wednesday. I'll try to catch up this evening. 


Till then,

Thanks for yonderin’ with me.


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