Last Man Standing at the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire

tex

It’s official. Tex was the last man standing at the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire Saturday. At least he was the last man dancing. You really don’t want Tex dancing with your girlfriend, if you want to keep your girlfriend. Just sayin’.

Tex is probably not his birth name, but you never know, his mom, seeing the cowboy hat and boots he was wearing the night he was forced from the womb, might just have labeled him that. Anyway, like most of the people I know in Whitmore, I only know him by his first name, which in his case is Tex. He has a fairly awesome Petty blue 1960s pickup truck that he just got out of the shop.

It was good to see him at the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire, and not just because my girlfriend doesn’t dance all that much. The older dudes have been dropping like flies around here lately. Sarah who works at the Whitmore Store has been keeping a list. Seven so far this year! Some of them I never heard of, the last one, Scotty, turned up dead last month, and was one of the few people I actually know in Whitmore.

Or I guess I should say knew. Scotty wasn’t really an “older” dude, he was younger than me, and lived about three times as hard. He’s the kind of guy that sneaks beer into the local fire department fundraiser, which is what the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire is. I met Scotty at the Faire three years ago, when I first moved here. He handed me a can of Budweiser, even though I already had a beer.

Nicest truck you'll ever see in Whitmore.

Nicest truck you’ll ever see in Whitmore.

I’m pretty sure Scotty is the guy who with a Sharpie scrawled the penis on the deer sign on the east side of town. It was a particularly nasty looking penis, and took forever for the local do-gooders to scrub off. His last known act of defiance was spinning donuts in the Seventh Day Adventist’s parking lot a couple of weeks ago. He’d been dead three days when they found him in his house.

I’m partial to acts of defiance, sometimes it’s the only way to tell if you’re still alive. But I’ve learned to parse them out over the years. Scotty never got that memo. May he rest in peace.

The Whitmore Mountain Music Faire always takes place the day before Mother’s Day, which is cool, because if you live in Whitmore and forgot to buy Mom a present (a totally unnecessary and in fact counter productive act of defiance ), this is your last chance!

The thing about this particular fair (I’ll spell it right from now on) is that the array of vendors actually might have something your mother, or maybe even your girlfriend, might want. For example, my girlfriend, Kelsey, bought a multi-colored jacket from this guy last year. She’s received nothing but compliments ever since, including three women who walked up to her at the fair this year and praised her on her sartorial selection. I’m not sure how he makes them. You can’t buy them in stores, apparently.

Signage? Who needs it when the jackets are this cool?

Signage? Who needs it when the jackets are this cool?

The thing about Mother’s Day presents is, you don’t want Mom to get the idea you’re faking it. I know, I know, everybody says flowers are a lady’s best friend, but really, unless you do it EVERY year, she’s going to think you’re faking it. Contrary to popular belief, you need to choose a gift you’re interested in, and you need to convince her you’re interested in it.

Which is where the goats come in. I’ve got a thing for goats right now. I don’t actually own a goat and have never owned anything that could be called a farm animal, but living up here in the sticks the last couple of years, I’m thinking I needs me some goats.

I’m not talking about the meat goats! I haven’t gone full rube. I’m talking about the cute little suckers that apparently if you squeeze them hard enough, rainbow sherbet cheese and soap comes out of them.

Check out the array (there’s that word again!) of goat fluids this vendor is offering! She’s local, too! Thank God for the goat people! She’s spent the better part of the last year squeezing goats for moms all over Shasta County. I know you can do other things with goats, like make cheese, and believe me, Kelsey had to stop me from eating the samples. That’s not food, she said. I need me some goats!

goat_1

Look at that cute little sucker! I need me some goats!

Look at that cute little sucker! I need me some goats!

Now that Mom’s out of the way, er, that I actually bought something at the fair, I feel a bit safer venturing into the political realm.

To be sure, there wasn’t a single Make America Great Again ball cap to be seen at the fair, or at least seen by me, and I was looking. I suspect that most of the political animals attending the fair, if they were Trump supporters, were keeping their powder dry.

As for me, I’ve turned to full-blown nihilism. The only way to make sense out of what’s going on in the world today is to take nothing at its face value. It’s all fake news. Both sides. To a degree I haven’t seen in 30 years as a journalist.

That’s why I can appreciate a political statement that’s as nakedly honest as this 1965 Ford Galaxy 500 done up as a State of Jefferson police cruiser. The name of the car alone harkens back to an era when Alpha Centauri seemed like a reasonable real estate investment.

And as for the Great State of Jefferson? I’ve always suspected most of its adherents want to be the sheriff, really, really bad. But there can only be one sheriff.

Gov. Tom Bosenko anyone?

Gov. Doug LaMalfa?

Someone has too much time on their hands.

Someone has too much time on their hands.

car_2

It must be said that there’s something about the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire (sorry) that sets it apart from similar events, if only because I live in Whitmore and they’ll hang me if I don’t say something nice.

It would be a waste of rope, because I love this place.

Anyway, one thing that sets it apart is the music, although you’re likely to see any of the three bands that played Saturday at an event coming to your area soon.

I saw a bluegrass band, a classic rock band that played a rendition of “White Rabbit” that made feel as if I’d been dosed, and another classic rock band that did its damned best to keep Whitmore hopping past 5 p.m.

Scotty was long gone, Tex was out there dancing, but the real last man standing was this guy, who was just shredding it on the guitar.

guitar

Here’s a photo gallery featuring some of the other things I saw at the fair.

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R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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9 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    Ah, summer in the northstate.  How I loved going, or getting away from the heat, to all those small town festivities in the mountains.  My favorite, mainly because my wife was from Hayfork and it was a sort of family reunion, was the 5th of July fireworks/fire company fund raiser in Hayfork.  The company that did the, or at least used to, Redding and Anderson and a lot of other fireworks shows around California was based in Hayfork and we would get the exact same fireworks show at the fair grounds as the big cities got.  Only we were sitting 100 yards from where the rockets would be launched and watching the misfires could be interesting with the workers running around.  Hayfork, according to a family member who was on the city council, was given these shows free because when the company first started they needed a government sponsor to get their license and Hayfork stepped up as the sponsor.  But, from what I have heard is the show was a victim of it’s own success and become commercialized.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      My barber, Mike, used to work for that fireworks company.  He has some pretty good stories about shows gone bad.

      Davis, of all places, had the worst fireworks shows I’ve ever seen.  Every forth or fifth rocket was a percussion bomb—it terrified the kids and annoyed the adults all to hell.  Nobody goes to a fireworks show to have their eardrums assaulted repeatedly.  People were pissed.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I saw several fireworks shows in The Pocket in Sacramento during the 1990s that may have been by that Davis crew. Lots of ground explosions, so forceful it felt like you were getting hit by shrapnel.

         

  2. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    R.V., you’ve made me pine for the days when the The Oaksong Society for Preservation of Way Cool Music held its concerts up in them thar hills, complete with a tasty barbecue that could be had for an additional fee.  BYOB, as I recall.  There was a nice stage, but you had to bring your own camp chairs, or just spread a blanket.

    Nowadays, Oaksong has its concerts in Redding at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  That’s a cool venue, but it doesn’t match an evening up among the tall trees following a toasty day in the valley.  And I think BYOB is out of the question at the church.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Well they do have Whitmore music night at the community center once a month, but it’s not so organized. It’s possible someone could get that going. I suspect I may be volunteering one of these days.

       

  3. Rod says:

    RV please do your darndest to get some foothills music festival(s) going!

    One of our generation’s love affairs has been mountain music in the summertime.  Shasta/Trinity rural folks have some spellbinding talent.  There’s a connection of some sort between the tall timber and people dancing to good tunes.  The reverberations and sound enhancing echoes can’t be equaled.

    I rode through Whitmore Saturday about 11:00 am.  I was in a string of 4 quickly cruising Shasta ol-timers, avg age of 73.75 years young.  I was the only one to know the gig was playing prior to arrival.  Talk about a distraction!  I coulda wrecked and half the town woulda picked me up, that’s a bunch of friendly folks up in Whitmore.  We kept moving along through Manton down to Red Bluff for lunch.  West on 36 and north on Bowman over to the Fishin’ Hole at the river.

    If you can find the place, we’ll be there!

     

  4. name says:

    definitely will not be the same without Scotty around!!

  5. Thanks for the write-up RV.

    Glenn and Diana, the goat people.

    http://Www.gtdranchproducts.com

  6. Auntie Bee says:

    As first time attendees to the Whitmore Mountain Music Faire , my husband and I were very impressed.  The Old Kennett String Band was our favorite.
    Everyone was so  friendly and we loved the different vendors.
    The drive from Redding was spectacular-the green rolling hills, wild flowers and  a view of Lassen.  The perfect way to spend a day.  Can’t wait for next year!

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