Bluegrass Friday

A small highway
Just two lanes
Avoiding the urban
Traveling quietly
Past farms and fences
Between the city

The corn maze
Largest east of the Mississippi
Second largest in the nation

Past a small market on the highway
That is only a highway officially
But feels like a country road

We stop at the market

Selling food and drink
Beautiful crafts and
Tacky souvenirs
Sandwiches, soda
Beer and wine and
“Market-ritas ”

We take our drinks
Out the side door

On the expanse of lawn
Dotted with those old wrought iron
Tables and chairs
Surrounded by white Christmas lights
Strung high
Backed by trees of heaven
Trash trees, Woody calls them
An invasive nuisance
But with pretty leaves

Off to one side
A corn hole game and a truck tire
The tire decorated for Halloween
Pumpkins and a sheet ghost
And a store bought skeleton

Under a cloud speckled sky
The musicians slowly gather
At the biggest table

As we drink our market-ritas
And eat our sandwiches
Back a-ways
At a smaller table

Two young girls,
Then a couple of middle aged men
Pot bellied and patriarchal

One of the young women takes up a guitar
And sings
Getting but not needing
Not asking for
The older men’s approval
“She can sure belt out a song…
Don’t need no microphone, her”
“And she plays a mean guitar”

A young man named Jacob
Arrives, tunes up and
Softly sings a ballad
Accompanying himself on his guitar

Guitars, fiddles, harmonicas
A mandolin
And a big ole bass
Picking up the
Rhythms and keys
Of each tune

An older woman arrives
Pulls up a chair,
Puts her guitar at her feet
She pats it, with no particular rhythm
For a few songs
Then she lights a cigarette
Picks up the guitar
And starts playing and singing
Cigarette dangling from the side of her mouth

A young woman tunes up her fiddle
Sings Wayfaring Stranger
In a clear echoey soprano

The group that is less than a group
Much less than a band
Shifts: expanding, shrinking
Playing for themselves
But aware of those of us
Sitting on the edge
Back a-ways
Maybe wishing we could
But not really understanding
That musical dialect
They speak so well

“Jacob, when are you going to give us another song?
Don’t wait to be asked, boy
Just start playing”

The group keeps going
The songs keep coming
The traffic keeps rolling

A bluegrass Friday evening
With Woody

Life fits easy
Like a comfortable shoe
Or a familiar tune

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