Back In the Saddle Again

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

As I write this blog it is Sunday, January 3. This is an auspicious day in my life and Red’s too, because this is Casey’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Casey! You can see the picture of the birthday cake I made her, brown sugar pound cake with cream cheese icing, hand decorated by moi, as you can probably tell!

Casey's wonderful, banjo-rific birthday cake, made and decorated by Murphy.

Casey's wonderful, banjo-rific birthday cake, made and decorated by Murphy.

This past week, when Casey was home with us, she came into my office and said, “Guess what?” Without waiting for a  “what?” she started singing, “Next Sunday, darling, is my birthday...” She’d just realized that this year, that great old Stanley Brothers song fit the occasion. How cool is it to have a daughter who appreciates stuff like that and knows the words, too?

She is currently down in Georgia doing her weekend with her grandparents and has planned a lovely birthday supper for which she will try out Julia Child’s recipe for baked chicken. My sisters Claire and Argen will provide a veg and homemade rolls, and Rita, who is one of the angels who helps out with the ‘rents, has supplied her fabulous pound cake with caramel icing, a birthday surprise for Casey. She’s almost got enough cakes for a cake walk!

On the music front, my friend and fiddle sister Patty had picking party last night. This time I took my fiddle and was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t totally suck, since it’s been a while since I’ve played anything other than Christmas carols on the devil’s instrument. Logan was there with his banjo, and again he acquitted himself well, although there were plenty of tunes he still needs to learn including:

Gold Rush

Soldier’s Joy

Remington Ride


Turkey in the Straw (optional)

Actually, he did pretty well on the first half of “Rawhide.” Since it’s in C, I told him to capo up to the fifth fret and play the break to “Lonesome Road Blues” through twice. He totally grokked what I was saying (to use a Heinlein word), and then I asked Red to come in on the second part which has lots of weird chords. (I wasn’t strong enough to carry it on the fiddle, although I was pretty proud of what I did on my own break! Go me!) Logan thought the second part sounded really hard, but I told him it wasn’t. Rudy Lyle took the most amazingly awesome break on the bridge, consisting of two up-the-neck chord positions and a bunch of slow backward rolls. Piece of cake. I can’t wait to show it to Logan.

The other folks in the jam like to do a lot of contemporary material including “Welcome To New York.” I told Logan he didn’t have to learn that. They have also been known to play “Caravan” and “Little Rock Getaway,” both of which are optional in my book. (Read: I can’t play ‘em!) Of course my hope for Logan is that he surpasses what I can do on the banjo and learns all these tunes and more. (Like Reno’s kickoff to “I Know You’re Married.”) Casey has already done this, and I am so proud of her.
In honor of Casey, here’s a little song rewrite:

This Sunday, darling, is your birthday

A day that should be free from care

Best wishes and congratulations

From both your parents way up hyear.

We both sang happy birthday to you

I knew a smile was on your face

When we hung up, I hope it stayed there

And nothing sad would take its place.


(Georgia typeface!)

7 thoughts on “Back In the Saddle Again

  1. Dennis

    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday to you,
    Happy BIrthday, Dear Casey.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    ( And many moooooooorrrrrrre.)

  2. martha carlton

    How lucky your parents are to have a duaghter such as you, Casey Congratulations to them and of course to you. May you have many more happy and successful years.

  3. Susan

    Lucky, Casey, to have parents like Red and Murphy! Lucky, Red and Murphy, to have a daughter like Casey! Congrats to you ALL!!!

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