August 06, 2004

Cousin Jacks

"Cousin Jacks" music store in Mariposa: we stroll in on the way home from Yosemite, idly looking for a small guitar for Jan’s niece, but I'm entranced by the dobros (even a big bass dobro), odd-looking banjos, and the mandolins. Jack's the character you’d expect -- old, bearded, cranky, garrulous, insisting that he feels insulted when people say he doesn’t look his age (67, the same age as his car) because he feels his age (he says he's lived his 67 years...) -- and can't stop showing me everything from an old ukulele favourite of his to a set of new dobro cassettes just in, to the photos of his car and dolls. I seem to have brightened his day by mentioning both Bill Monroe and Leon McAuliffe in the same sentence, and for bantering with him about Tiny Tim (he greeted us by bounding out of the back of his shop saying out of the blue "Tiny Tim’s gone, you know. There'll never be a better ukulele player.") I feel guilty about leaving.... [December 1996]


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