19 May 2009

Cigar Box Steve Nicholas

Pickin' in the Pines was a transformative experience. I have never been quite sure what people mean when they use the phrase “transformative experience,” but I love the sound of it. It makes the experience sound really important, and this one was.

CBS and I in the coffee tent at Pickin' in the Pines.

My new best friend Cigar Box Steve works for Ms. Jenkins at the Armadillo Farm Campground during the winter months. He was the first person I met there when I first showed up looking for space and Miss Jenkins was gone. The next time I saw him was onstage in Luckenbach at Tony's birthday party on Saturday, May 9. He was playing his cigar box banjo. So I struck up another conversation with him when I saw him again a couple days later at the Armadillo Farm.

In the meantime I had developed a major fondness for the T&C Miller duet, whom I mentioned earlier. At a break during their afternoon appearance in Luckenbach on May 11, I asked where they would be playing again soon. Candace explained that they were leaving the next day for the Pickin' in the Pines festival up north. I was interested right then.

During my conversation with Cigar Box Steve later that day, I mentioned that I was considering decamping and heading up north for that festival. This is when I discovered that he was going. Picken' in the Pines was going to be his time off after a season of working for Miss Jenkins. After the festival he was heading on further north to Michigan to see some of his children. Then he was spending the rest of the summer in Kentucky helping to build an outdoor stage. We determined to throw in together for the trip to Pine Hills, Texas, for the music festival.

CBS's life experiences are far too varied to be captured in a little blog article or two. Suffice it to say that one of his skills is as a traveling and camping companion. I write this the day after he left for Michigan, and I miss him already. However, I have inherited his big cooler with some food in it, his Coleman coffee percolator, a second folding chair for a guest, and his sorry assed towel. But these valuable things have not served in any way to compensate for the loss of the man himself.

Hippies from the Sixties from Uncle Steve on Vimeo.

Gosh, I was full of myself that day. Sorry about that.

We're Gonna Get High [on the Right Stuff] from Uncle Steve on Vimeo.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Should you look in here, Steve, you left more of your worldly goods with me than you intended to, as I am sure you have discovered by now. I have your tent, your air mattress, and your cellular telephone charger among other things. I am not concerned about those items. You can replace them. But I do not know where you will be able to find replacements for these bright yellow Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star high top basketball shoes. I do not remember seeing you wear these amid the cowboys at Pine Mills. In any event I will leave all these items with Miss Jenkins.

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