By Dick Nail
Special to The North Jefferson News
The Kimberly Senior Center is the location of a musical gathering that has been going on every Saturday night for almost 20 years.
It was originally held at the Crackling Cornbread Jamboree building in East Kimberly and continued there until Thanksgiving 2008.
Following the highly successful fifth-annual Thanksgiving Friday Guitar Pulling, which was held at the Kimberly Senior Center, director Jody Newman offered the use of the senior building on a continuing basis.
The term “guitar pulling” harkens back to the old days when a crowd would gather but there would be few instruments. Before one song was completed, another singer would be trying to pull the guitar away to use it on his song.
In 1990, Cotton Myrick, Dick Nail, Ben Allen and Bob Blalock were having floating jam sessions at the various members’ homes. When Myrock’s building came empty, he offered the use of his building for those jam sessions. Over the years, hundreds of pickers and singers from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia have “dropped in” for the Saturday night jams.
In the beginning years when the originators were younger, the sessions would last until 1 or 2 a.m., but for some strange reason, as time went by, the sessions have ended earlier and earlier and now they generally close at around 10 p.m.
Myrick, the famous “tub” man, was known far and wide by the sign which was on the wall over his washtub, “Please do not feed the tub man.”
In 2005, Myrick passed away, but his wish was that the group continue to use the building as long as they wanted to. But when the new Senior Center became available with its greater space and newer facilities, the group gratefully accepted the offer to move.
Blalock has, from the beginning, been the mainstay of the sessions. Blalock and his sister, Lottie, and her husband Jimmy Mitchell were long-time singers on the radio. Lottie and Jimmy have since passed away but Bob continues and his immense knowledge of “every song in the book” keeps the sessions moving along, although everyone is free to take the lead on any song they wish to offer.
Bob Rich, another key early bluegrass figure, returned to Jefferson County from California four or five years ago with his venerable dobro, “Hoss.” Rich has in his career with AT&T; traveled the world and barely escaped from Teheran, Iran, in the 1970s and had to leave his beloved dobro behind in order to make it out in time.
Friends who remained in Iran smuggled the old dobro out to Rich several years later. Although Rich now plays a newer Auldridge instrument, “Hoss” still holds a dear spot in his inventory.
Ben Allen, the original banjo picker, had to drop out in the early years of the jam due to recurrences of his combat injuries that he sustained in Vietnam. He now gets to play occasionally with friends as his wounds allow him.
Dick Nail, one of the originators, remains in the group and plays regularly at the Kimberly Senior Center when not playing elsewhere with his traveling band.
Regular players who one may see from time to time now are banjoist Chris “Pappy” Cosby, banjoist Jeff Stovall, banjoist Rex Kirkland, guitarist Irvin Higginbotham, guitarist Don Mosley, doghouse bassist Alan Ogg, harmonica player Johnny Reno, dobroist Roman Locklear, vocalists Dude Salyer, Leah Commer and Pam Rosser, and any one of dozens of others who may show up.
The Kimberly Guitar Pull, formerly held on Saturdays, is now every Friday at 6:30 p.m.
By Dick Nail
Elder mediation can ease conflicts
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Senior Center News
For more information about the Fultondale Senior Center, call 849-0916.
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me the about the constant ear ringing syndrome known as tinnitus? At age 56, I have had it for several years but it has gotten more and more noticeable lately. Is there anything I can do?
— Ringing Rhonda
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me
the about the constant ear
ringing syndrome known
Civitan’s ‘General’ wins major recognition
Gardendale native Robert E. Lee is revered as “The General of Recruiting” as the president of the Gardendale Civitan Club.
Lee has led the club for more than 20 years and he’s recruited about 200 people into the organization. “There’s a secret to recruiting for Civitans and I’m one of the few people that knows it,” he said. “The secret is a-s-k. You just have to ask people to join.”
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July has brought many new members to the center.
We are so very happy to see folks come in to enjoy our various programs and activities.
Retired teacher loves shopping, family time
Lillie Y. Patterson has lived in the North Jefferson area for 63 years.
A retired teacher from the Birmingham City School System, she tutors in her spare time.
Morris native enjoys flowers, spending time with grandkids
My niece Maria and I went out for a girls day several Saturdays ago and ran into a delightful lady, Erin Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan grew up in Morris and has many friends in the Morris and Gardendale communities.
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