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August 2000 Musings: Blueberries Sublime and Things to Do Today in Wisconsin

This was the month that was supposed to offer time to slow down. Oh well. The best laid plans…. I did manage to get up to Maine, if only for a concert. And my kids and I spent a couple of days in Vermont at my folks’ place on beautiful Lake Groton. Ahh. Sometimes I get to moving so fast I forget what a delight it is to just stop for a moment. The weather even cooperated, and we got in some boating and swimming and tubing.

It was a great month for concerts, mostly duo with Dana Robinson, and mostly here in the northeast. Once again a great night at the Montague Grange. Not truly local, because it’s on the other side of the Connecticut River, but still within the Pioneer Valley, so it feels like a hometown concert in that way. This year Dana and I made it a double CD release celebration, in honor of the release of Leaving Fort Knox, which Dana produced and plays and sings on, and his own solo CD, The Trade, that I sing and play some guitar on. We played all our favorites from both CDs, and it was a fun concert, thanks to all of you who came to help us celebrate.

The one thing that made it a most magnificent August was the crop of blueberries on our bushes. Wow. They were especially remarkable in contrast to last year’s drought blueberries, small and prematurely wrinkled. This year, with all the rain – had to be good for something! – the berries were extraordinary. There, is that enough in the way of superlatives? Big, fat, juicy, sun ripened (yes, we finally got some sun), luscious blue orbs weighing down the branches. Reach out a hand and they drop into your palm. Pop one in your mouth and it explodes in an orgy of flavor. My kids and I picked and picked and picked, and the bushes were still loaded, we barely made a dent. We’ll be eating them all winter, and remembering the warmth of the sun as we picked them. We’ll have forgotten about the mosquitoes by then.

The last week in August, I drove out to Wisconsin for the Great River Festival in LaCrosse. After two days of driving, I arrived in time to hear most of John McCutcheon’s inspiring Friday evening festival kickoff concert. On Saturday I shared a workshop on home and hearth – can you imagine, me, who’s barely home? – with John and L.J. Booth. Sunday morning I shared a workshop stage with L.J and the bluegrass band String Ties, trading off with favorite gospel and related songs. My favorite festival memory has to do with my Saturday evening main stage set, which I started off with Things to Do, briefly mentioning my compulsive habit of making lists. Later I was presented with a four-page list that had passed through the audience during my set, entitled: Things to Do Today in Wisconsin: a List for Lui. Audience members offered great suggestions like “mend long underwear” and “hug your favorite Lutheran.” As if I can’t make my lists long enough on my own! Fortunately, I don’t have a leaf blower, so no, I won’t get it tuned up today. Guess I’ll just have to tune up my banjo and sit and play awhile.

Warmly, Lui
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Lui Collins
137 Main Street Apt C
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

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