Old Friends

Sometime in the mid-nineties I met a fellow by the name of John Reilly. We lived in Pennsylvania at the time, and my wife worked in a handcrafted jewelry store where John and his soon-to-be-wife Cindy came to have their wedding rings made. At some point Suzy discovered that John was a guitar player and a bluegrass fan. Over time we got to know John and Cindy better, and John and I became picking buddies.

For a while we just got together whenever we both had a free hour here or there, but eventually we formalized things a bit and worked up something of a repertoire. Before we knew it we had ourselves a handful of gigs. Photos and business cards, even. We billed ourselves as “The Ordinary Humans.” It didn’t last long, and I suspect we probably spent more on gasoline driving back and forth across town to practice at each other’s houses than we ever made at all our gigs combined. But it was great fun and we enjoyed every minute of it.

As often happens, though, other things cropped up to take our attention away from playing, we both moved, and over the years we mostly fell out of touch.

Then a few weeks ago John sent me an email. Interestingly enough, though we’d had almost no contact at all for several years, our paths had continued to parallel. Each of us let our playing time slip away to nearly nothing, and then both of us realized we needed to change that. I started up my lessons, as documented here, and John bought an older Guild F50 to get himself going.

Long story short, we made a plan to get together. He drove up to Maplewood, we visited awhile, and off we went to Lark Street Music to check out some guitars. Not a whole lot of new items had come in since I had last been there, but I was content to revisit some of the instruments I had played before, and it was a real blast to stumble our way through some of the old tunes we used to play together.

Another fellow there joined in with us on St. Anne’s Reel, and before we all left he invited us to the Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association of NJ’s jams every third Sunday down in Little Silver. I imagine John and I will make our way down there sometime.