In Memory of Edward D Ogle.
My daughter had a birthday party and that’s all I needed as an excuse to smoke a couple of pork butts and conjure up some sides. Vinegar Based Slaw. Macaroni Salad, light on the cream, and cream made with half sour cream, half mayo. Spoon Bread. Don’t gaff at this, but I usually take my favorite store bought sauce and cut it with 3/8 cider vinegar.
I tell you our menu with slight detail because it is important for you to know that a friendship can’t be bought, but with food and music? Now that is how a friendship starts.
The party started and the guest list was pre-planned. Our neighbors were coming, my parents, my wife’s parents, and my wife’s good friend, Victoria and her husband/children.
Victoria received a call from her dad who said he was in the area and fresh off the crooked road. She asked us if he could join the party, and without hesitation, we said yes. He asked if he could play a tune to contribute to the meal. I had no idea what kind of a treat was in store for us. Harmonica already in his pocket, he reached into his van and pulled out one of his uke’s. His van, which was once modded out with all the R.V. Amenities had been converted to a Bluegrass Traveler. Guitars, Harmonicas, Ukuleles, frets and strings for when the old get outplayed, and an old bedroll for when the musician gets a bit weary.
Over the course of the party, Eddie played, told stories, and played some more. He had the attention of everyone, including all of the kids. His fingers and voice were amazing, I wanted to get on the phone and call all over to our very own bluegrass convention.
At the end of the party, he said he’d gladly come into town if I was smoking meat, and I said back to him only if he plays a few tunes in exchange. We shook on it. The friendship had been created.
Several years passed. Eddie and I stayed in touch via messaging, he complimenting my woodwork and I complementing his music, along with his documenting the backroads on his motorcycle adventures.
The bbq party was five or six years ago, but I still have the harmonica in my head. Damn he could play and play it well.
Amazing folk seem to fleet. Eddie Fleeted from us earlier this year.
A family member of his asked if I could take a guitar case and make it into something his daughter could cherish and enjoy. I loved the idea of the project, but was frightened of the process. I took the case home and put it on a shelf in my shop, glancing at it for two weeks, thinking that there was only one shot to make the cut. The plan was to take the top of the case and cut it to slip into the inside of the case, making the back of the inside of a bookcase of sorts. The stickers made the case. My two favorites were a John Henry Sticker and one that said “Stringband Music is a Social Disease”. I thought the latter one to be fitting in an eerie way as Eddie is now released from the Covid Wrath and can play freely where he is at, without trying to fit a harmonica under his mask. Some of the stickers were pretty worn and ragged, but I found a technique through trial and error to mend them legible. I then coated the stickers with some oil based poly as I feared water base would have adverse consequences on the adhesive of the stickers and the material they were made from.
Oh, and the cutting of the case? Yes, two weeks of thought and a minute of cutting. I suggest a metal blade on a jigsaw, it cuts through the metal hardware and the composite wood material like a dream.
It was a true honor to meet a legend of the Tri-State Bluegrass Scene and a somber honor to be able to create this for his daughter. May his spirit continue to humor and inspire us.
Play on, Eddie.