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Fox Hollow Memories?

Related thread:
Remembering Fox Hollow (71)


mmb 20 Oct 02 - 06:16 PM
Hollowfox 21 Oct 02 - 03:14 PM
mmb 21 Oct 02 - 10:51 PM
Willie-O 22 Oct 02 - 04:56 AM
johnross 22 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM
mmb 27 Oct 02 - 07:19 PM
musicmick 28 Oct 02 - 01:46 AM
georgeward 28 Oct 02 - 02:35 AM
Hollowfox 28 Oct 02 - 05:17 PM
Susan of DT 28 Oct 02 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Guest "youngin" 29 Oct 02 - 10:03 AM
Willie-O 29 Oct 02 - 11:20 AM
musicmick 29 Oct 02 - 08:28 PM
kendall 29 Oct 02 - 09:36 PM
mmb 29 Oct 02 - 11:16 PM
musicmick 29 Oct 02 - 11:45 PM
georgeward 30 Oct 02 - 01:06 AM
Sandy Paton 30 Oct 02 - 01:56 AM
Jeri 30 Oct 02 - 09:18 AM
Conharp 30 Oct 02 - 01:48 PM
musicmick 30 Oct 02 - 07:13 PM
kendall 30 Oct 02 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Doug MacKenzie 13 Mar 08 - 10:52 AM
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Subject: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: mmb
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 06:16 PM

While reading through the thread on "The Water Is Wide" I came across several mentions of Bob and Evelyn Beers. I would dearly love to connect with some folks who share fond memories of late-night (or should I say "early-morning"?) a capella singing in the campground, to preserve some of those harmonies if they aren't already lost.
    I'm on the Gulf Coast of Florida, but get back up to NYS a couple times a year.
    I'll start with one of my own fond memories. After hours of floating from one campsite to another, I would always make sure I ended up where the largest group of a capella singers were sure to wind down with "Bright Morning Stars are Rising."
    Several years ago there was a concert that featured Fox Hollow music at the Troy (NY) Savings Bank Music Hall. It drew folks from near and far, and the closing songs were led by a local, informal group of a capella trad singers known as All Night Long. Members of the group got to nominate the songs to be done, and although one other Fox Hollow veteran and I lobbied strenuously for Bright Morning Stars, we were voted down because most of the group did not have the same emotional connection with it that we did.
    Evelyn Beers led the final selection, which was "Dunbarton's Drums." During the party that followed, I mentioned my disappointment that Bright Morning Stars hadn't been done in the concert to Evelyn, and she said she had elected not to do it as the ending song because she thought people would be tired of it! So she and those of us who were nearby started it, and gradually all of those within earshot joined in, and we got to do it, after all, one final time. (And, of course, no one had a walkman to record it!) Sigh. Anyone care to contribute other memories?   MMB


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 03:14 PM

Ooo, I'll have to answer when I have more time. I'll be back.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: mmb
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 10:51 PM

NEAT Screen name!   I'll be watching for you. MB


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Willie-O
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 04:56 AM

I remember meeting Kendall theyah.   

W-O


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: johnross
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM

There's another Fox Hollow thread here.

As some background on "Bright Morning Stars", it came to Fox Hollow in 1968, sung by Robin and Ellen Christenson and Tony and Irene Saltan (Ellen and Irene are the Kossoy Sisters; Robin and Tony were then their respective husbands). Robin had found the song in Ruth Crawford Seeger's book, "American Folksongs for Christmas." I'm pretty certain the Robin was the one who discovered the song's potential for great harmonies.

There's another version of BMS on Peggy Seeger's Folkways LP of songs from her mother's book. Ruth had found it in a field recording at the Library of Congress.

After the '68 Fox Hollow, it moved into the common folkie repertoire. It was recorded by The Pennywhistlers, and there's a version by the Young Tradition on a very obscure English compilation album called "The Folk Trailer". By that fall, it had become a familiar part of many singing sessions all over the Northeast.

At the same time, it was still being sung in Kentucky. I have a strange self-published 45 of the song sung by George Tucker, a retired coal miner, who told me that it's in a hymnal called "The Baptist Sweet Songster" (I might be wrong about that title; it was 30 years ago), and I think it's also on one of the Stanley Brothers' Starday LPs.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: mmb
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 07:19 PM

johnross - -
    I'm wondering if I heard the version you're speaking of in Columbus, GA, in either '98 or '99 during the School of the Americas Watch vigil at Fort Benning. It was my first time there, and about 1500 or so of the 10,000 gathered had "crossed the line" onto the base, and had then been transported to we-didn't-know-where on school buses. Turned out the military had checked ID's and arrested those who had previously been issued ban & bar notices and transported all the newbies out another gate to a baseball field a couple miles from the main gate, issued them their notices, and left them to trek back. Those who had not crossed the line had committed to stay put until everyone who had was accounted for, and occupied more than a mile of the approach to the Main Gate. As soon as the gathered masses saw those who'd been released approaching on foot from the opposite direction, they began welcoming them with what was to me a totally new version of Bright Morning Stars Are Rising - much more up-tempo and spirited than the Fox Hollow version. And made sure that each wave of returners walked that last mile or so to the cheers and song of the crowd. I was told the version being sung was a "southern version."


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: musicmick
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 01:46 AM

I was lucky enough to attend all the Fox Hollow Festivals. I have never forgotten them. The best singing was at night, on the grounds.
The staff and the performers were allowed to camp on the grounds, which was great because the nearby campgrounds (like the Little Hoosik) always flooded out. I performed with Roger Sprung's Progrssive bluegrassers and I also played backup for whoever needed a bassist or a lead guitarist. What a lineup of traditional performers they had, Gordon Bok, Jean Ritchie, Jean Redpath, the entire Golden Ring (they're the ones who usually led "Bright Morning Stars" and "Pleasant and Delightful") and Bob, Evelyn and Marty Beers.
The finest introduction I ever heard was when Bob Beers walked out onto the stage holding a thick twig and a penknife. As he sang a song about a shepherd making a whistle, he whittled away at the twig and, as his song ended, he had fashioned a functional, if limited, whistle of his own. He blew through the twig, produced a sound and introduced The Pennywhistlers. I still get a thrill from the memory.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: georgeward
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 02:35 AM

It was "Bright Morning Stars," I believe, that someone quietly began and we all picked up around somebody's portable radio at Fox Hollow the night that Nixon resigned the presidency.

Musicmic, the song was "The Whistle that the Wee Herd Made." It is a poem set to music. I have it on another computer and can't remember the poet right now. I wonder if Bob himself set it to that tune. It would have been like him. I've had fragments of it in my head since that night. Does anyone have it all ?

You're right. It was one of the most marvelous introductions ever.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 05:17 PM

Sorry I'm late getting back on this thread. My computer at home has gone insane and refuses to let me on the 'net, and I'm too busy at work to get on much. I'll be back, though, when I can.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 08:52 PM

Fox Hollow was the first folk festival I went to and it remained my "ideal" of a folk festival. I first went in 1969 or so and only missed one from then until the last one.

It ALWAYS rained at least part of the festival. One year I considered going home because it had rained constantly for days and the mud was terrible. In those days we did not have sand chairs - we sat directly on the ground (which got cold). When it would rain, everyone would take out ponchos, or even large garbage bags, and just sit there and listen.

In the early years, we could camp on the grounds of the festival, before they made people use the 3 commercial campgrounds instead.

I loved Bob Beers taste in performers. It definately declined after he died.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: GUEST,Guest "youngin"
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 10:03 AM

Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful event which so formed all of my musical horizons. I was there but the last two years. I remember going to Fox hollow one year and being angry because some other upstart festival had some how blocked the NY thruway, (Woodstock) and I was impatient to get there.   I had no other place on my mind than Fox Hollow. Lovely indeed.

Bob Lucas


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Willie-O
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:20 AM

It's not too surprising that Mr Beers taste would decline after he died...along with his reduced capacity for sight, smell, hearing etc.

(Sorry)

I was only there once, I think it was '78. I hadn't been exposed to a lot of fiddle sessions. But I distinctly remember some campfire jam, a tune was in progress and the lovely Becky Boyer calling out "Flowers of Edinburgh!" and they all tore into it. I fell in love then and there. That's still one of my favourite tunes to play.

Also remember sheltering from the rain under the dining hall (?) overhang, and hearing some jokes from Kendall that don't bear repeating ;)=

W-O


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: musicmick
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 08:28 PM

Thanks for the info, Georgeward. I did remember the name of the song but I couldn't think how to spell "wee herd". I remember the night that Nixon resigned, too. I was working at the ticket gate with Leon Aaron when we heard applause and cheering from the hollow. Who was on stage then? My memories from Fox Hollow are pouring over me, now, like a warm shower. I remember lying in my tent, falling asleep to the sweet sounds of Jean Redpath. Some years later, I saw Jeanie in Glasgow and we relived those weekends through our memories. Does anyone remember the Golden Ring or Doctor California's Golden Gate Remedy or the time we gave Roger Sprung his birthday pie in the face as he was taking a solo on "Soldier's Joy"? Gee, I could go on for weeks.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: kendall
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 09:36 PM

I remember Fox Hollow. Rain, mud and more rain. My first visit was in 1972 or 73 with Gordon Bok. That's when I first saw Jean Redpath, love at first sight!
The second time, Marshall Dodge was there too. He did a set in the morning, then, in the afternoon, he did another set, and afterwards, a young man said to him, "You should have seen that guy this am, he was funnier than you"!
One morning, I came out of my camper, and there was he reading PLATO! before breakfast. He was quite a guy, and I still miss him.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: mmb
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:16 PM

It's ironic that when I started this thread I didn't realize that I would be unable to pull up a critical element of my very first memory of the Festival - '72, I think.

I was helping set up the Information Booth/Lost & Found at the top of the hill. (Weren't the Niskayuna kids part of that crew, too, George?) We were setting up the booth as the sound crew worked on placing the speakers. It was a gloriously-sunny day, with the blue sky showing through gently-swaying leaves. The air was filled with background sounds: cars and carts entering and leaving the Craft Area, hammers and voices contributing to the sense of expectation. And then, like magic, a tune that I have ever since identified with Fox Hollow came from the speakers - and I can't remember what it was!!! I can't recall a word, or a musical phrase, but I need only recall the incident to recover that special feeling. (I think the voice may have been Bill Steele, and the song may have been A Thousnad Songs.) Can anyone confirm or correct that guess?

Thinking of Lost & Found, I believe that was also the year that we brought all of the Lost & Found items down to the Main Stage on Sunday afternoon and used them as lyrics in a customized version of "These Are A Few of my Favorite Things."    M.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: musicmick
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:45 PM

Thanks, Kendall. I had completely forgotten about Marshal Dodge. I think I used his name when I reviewed your CD. There were quite a few storytellers at the Beers Festival. My memory is sievelike or I could tell you the name of that lady who dressed up like an old southern granny and told Uncle Remus stories. I think it was Thelma something.
Do you remember those puppets of John and Ginnie Dildine or George Armstrong's bagpipe. (Speaking of the Golden Ring, I recently made contact with Herb and Betty Nudleman, who live in California, now)
Was there ever a festival with such glorious music and fellowship?


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: georgeward
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 01:06 AM

Thelma Boltin, she was...with a penchant for carrying peacock feathers, as I recall.

mmb - If the Niskayuna kids were there (and we did do the information booth), the earliest possible year would have been 1973.

Speaking of whom, where's Jeri ? She's got to have some bits to add to this thread.
                     -George


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 01:56 AM

I went to Bennington and bought a portable TV set at Grant's in order to watch Nixon resign, George. We plugged it in at Intertangle- folkenlochenwood. Caroline and I went on stage right after he quit and made the announcement to the crowd. Caroline sang "Only Remembered (for what we have done)" to celebrate. Lines like "only the truth that in life we have spoken..." seemed appropriate. Then the magic happened. Someone 'way back in the audience started singing "America the Beautiful" and it swept down through the audience until the hollow reverberated with the sound. "Bright Morning Stars" may have followed that one. I was so deeply moved, standing there on the stage with my dear wife, thinking that, after all was said and done, American democracy DOES work, and that man's forced resignation was proof, that I hardly remember more.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 09:18 AM

I think Willie-O meant the lodge. No dining hall. The 'dining hall' was spread out over various campsites, and the roof was tree or tarpaulin.

I worked in the information booth the first year ('73) I went, and had a great time. I worked on the gate to the performer/staff campground other years and we made sure people were camping if they drove through but just had tickets if they walked through. After the concerts ended, a large portion of the audience headed into the campground for the music there. Old Songs comes close to capturing the feeling of the campground at night, but it's not the same with no trees and crammed-in tents. It can't be helped - private land with fewer folks camping vs. fairgrounds with as many as will fit. You had to learn your way around the 'neighborhood' each year. This person's tent was just past the corner on the left next to the VW bus, and somebody-I-don't-know has a huge tarp set up in the center of the 2nd loop and there's always someone making music there and they invite folks in to share meals. I, like mmb, used to walk around at night looking for the healthiest acapella singing. I remember feeling like I could walk in anywhere and feel a part of things.

There's an earlier thread - Remembering Fox Hollow - and I wrote a bunch there. And in the thread lost forever , I wrote the following:
"More than a loss of a festival, it was a loss of innocent wonder and belonging inspired by the festival.

Have you ever felt something like magic? The concerts were outstanding, but what I remember most was the night. Impromptu dancing on the lawn, with the grass under the trees lit by moonlight and people flickering in and out of it like faeries. Singing in a darkened campsite, where you couldn't see the people standing near you, but it didn't matter anyway because within the song, there was no boundary between them and you. Soft rain falling through tall fir trees, and a smell of pine and hemlock. I, and probably everyone else, felt like we belonged there, in the forest at night, with the music everywhere and everyone in love with it.

There have been many greater losses to the world. This one isn't the world's - it's mine. Perhaps the world's greatest loss really is the loss of innocence. If everyone were in a situation where they were able to hang onto that feeling for their whole lives, where would we be now..."


Silly me, saying I 'lost' this, but remembering it so vividly! I still feel that 'innocent wonder' at times and it's strengthened by these memories. Time never stops. It moves on, but I don't think anything's lost as long as I can remember, and the memories prove what's possible and inspire me.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: Conharp
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 01:48 PM

Fox Hollow was filled with magic moments. One of those that remains in our minds is the memory of Jean Redpath singing "Will Ye Go Lassie Go" in the late afternoon. The sun was behind the stage; it was sort of hazy. People were singing slow, glorious harmonies, and there was a hush when the song was over. We all knew that we had experienced something "other worldly".

Our four sons grew up going to the festival, first with us, then on their own. They are all involved with music, and Fox Hollow definitely influenced their musical lives, We felt that the festival in the early years when Bob Beers was alive was a reflection of his personality- his quirks, his imagination, his sensibility; of music in a pastoral setting creating a mood taking us beyond the problems of everyday living.

My wife and I are among those who attended all of the festivals (we came as fans, performers and volunteers). We realized that a low-key family-oriented festival was possible, and we brought this idea to our own community. We ran a festival in a local park for 17 years, with many of our invited performers having been first heard at Fox Hollow.

Our memories of Fox Hollow are colored by individual flashbacks, and Fox Hollow with time has become a Shang-Ri-La.


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: musicmick
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 07:13 PM

Hi Sandy. Hi, George. This is like old home week. Did you ever drive over the Petersberg Pass into Williamstown? That drive and that town were so beautiful that I've been coming back almost every year since even though Fox Hollow is no more. Thelma Bolton was her name. Kenny Goldstien wanted to book her for the Philly Festival but I talked him out of it. She was a great storyteller but those Uncle Remus tales were so blatently racist that we would have had an uncomfortable confrontation if we had presented her. Do you guys remember Jean Ritchie's little dog? It was one of the ugliest, orneriest yappers I've ever met, but she loved it like a delinquent child. I think the best feature of the Beers Fest was that the evenung concerts were like teasers for the afternoon shows. Also, like everyone else, I had a crush on Martie Beers.

          Mike


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: kendall
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 07:23 PM

I remember the Dildine's puppets well. Very impressive performance. As I recall, my first visit to Fox Hollow was for the "Gotta get gone"
and my only performance there was after Mr. Beers died. I never met him. I did meet his successor, nuff said.
Willy O, I really don't remember that session you mentioned, but, it sounds like something not above me!


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Subject: RE: Fox Hollow Memories?
From: GUEST,Doug MacKenzie
Date: 13 Mar 08 - 10:52 AM

I was very fortunate to be a child in Schenectady, New York, in the 1960s. The GE plant was still humming along, ALCO was still turning out locomotive engines, Union College was full of students, and the City of Lights was prosperous and content. I also happened to have an older brother, Guy, who was keenly interested in seeing to my musical education. Guy, who is 19 years older than me, was a young man in the '60s. Guy was a photographer, poet, and folksinger, back then. He found himself spending time with some of the greats of the era: Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Judy Collins, Len Chandler, Michael Cooney, Hedy West, Jean Redpath, and Reverend Gary Davis, to name a few. He was also close friends with the Beers Family, of folk music renown.
        Guy took me with him on quite a number of his musical adventures, including many trips up to Saratoga Springs, to listen to performers at the Caffe Lena. Guy himself was a regular performer at Lena's, and The San Remo Café in Schenectady. He also used to take me out to the Beers Family estate. They owned a 185-acre retreat, built in 1793 up in the Berkshire Mountains, near Petersburg, NY. It had also once been the hideout of noted gangster Jack "Legs" Diamond.
        It was there that I started becoming self-aware. I began to truly note the people with whom we were keeping company. I started looking forward to our trips out to the Beers place. I used to catch frogs in the old heart shaped pond (an edifice reputedly ordered built for a woman Legs Diamond was romantically interested in.) I could run around to my heart's content, really let go and be a free kid.
        The evenings there were pure magic. Bob Beers, who headed up the family, played his huge plucked psaltery and sang, while Evelyne, his wife, would keep time with a homemade "limberjack"; a loose-limbed toy that would be bounced upon a paddle shaped board. Or, more rightly, the board was bounced while the Limberjack was held still, allowing his arms and legs to do a crazy dance. Their lovely daughter, Martha, whom my brother was dating, would play guitar, or sometimes banjo. Sometimes Bob would play fiddle, using an old bent hickory stick bow. Evelyne's clear soprano was like pure silver, pure gold. Martha's harmonies were from the angels. There were always others joining in. I remember Jean Redpath, Rosalie Sorrels, Theo Bikel, the Seegers, and many others. All would play well into the night. Eventually, I would tire and seek out the prettiest lap upon which I could lay my weary little head. I have probably never slept more soundly.
        Then, in 1966, the Beers decided to hold a festival on their estate. It started out as a weekend-long party for their closest 3,000 friends. Guy played every year, from 1966 to 1972. Therefore, my family attended the festival during the same time-span. I remember that it usually rained, sometimes seeming almost biblical in its proportions. The festival was the most potent magic I have ever known. The main stage was at the bottom of a natural amphitheater in the woods, sculpted and shaped with logs. The performances were transcendental, for me, at least. I looked forward eagerly every year for festival time to roll around.
        Tragically, Bob Beers died in an auto accident in 1972. The festival never really recovered. The festival was Bob's baby, and without his spirit guiding the event, it lost its soul. The last festival was held on the grounds in 1980.
        I had a small moment on the festival stage in 1977, just before I left for the west coast. I was at the festival and looking for Evelyne. Eventually, I was taken backstage. I started to introduce myself, when she interrupted me, hugging me and tearfully saying, "I know who you are!" I was stunned. Apparently, so was Evelyne. She found a spot for me and I played a short, 15-minute set. That occasion turned out to be the last I would see of that magical place for 30 years.
        Five years ago, or so, I started having a recurring dream. I am not normally given to such things. I do not see ghosts. I have never had any encounter in life for which I could not find a rational explanation. Given that, it makes what happened next extraordinarily hard for me to understand. In fact, I do not understand it. I only know it happened.
        The dream was simple enough: It is early morning. I am standing on Route 2, in Troy, NY, looking east. The road winds up and away to the left, into the trees. I sigh and start walking up the road. The dream would dissolve for a moment and then reappear, with me standing across the road from the old Beers house. I look both ways on the road for traffic, and then start to cross the road to go to the house. At that point, the dream ends.
        The first time it happened, it was quite pleasant. I had not thought of those times from my youth in years. Indeed, it had been thirty years since I last went out Route 2 to Petersburg. Almost a year later, I had the dream again. It was the same as the first time. Then, it came to me again about another year later. This pattern continued for four years. Then, in 2007, I started having the dream nearly every month. By this time, it was becoming rather disconcerting. I could not imagine why I kept having the same dream, repeatedly, and with increasing frequency. As I live in North Carolina, it would not be a quick jaunt to try to find out what this might all be about.
        However, I did find a week I could manage to make the journey. So, last week, I loaded the van, brought my nine year old son, Ian, along with me, and off we set.
        The Capital District of New York is some 750 miles away. I am currently recovering from dual carpal tunnel surgery that didn't turn out as planned, so I was rather anxious about the trip. While the trip was long and arduous, all went as smoothly as could be anticipated.
        I have not been in the Capital District in over twenty-five years. I lived in Albany in 1977, then again in 1980-82, until I joined the Air Force, where I spent the next ten years. Returning there was almost dreamlike in itself. There were so many places that looked familiar, but in a long lost sort of way. It seemed as though I were swimming through another dream.
        Prior to the journey, I had arranged to meet Guy at an old Schenectady eatery, Morrette's King Steakhouse, on Erie Boulevard. After a satisfying lunch, we toured the area, stopping by the three houses I called home as a child. When we'd finished, Guy looked at me and said, "Ready to go find the Beers place?" I did not know the way at all and said so. Guy said that I should follow my nose, since it had served me well, thus far. I agreed. So, we headed to Troy on Route 7.
        After finding Troy with no trouble, I eventually found Route 2. As we started heading out of town, my hackles raised as we approached the area where the dream always started. Dry throated, I managed to say something along the lines of, "This is it." I felt foolish for feeling antsy about this. Then, a feeling of calm descended over me and I knew we were on the right road and that I would find out at last why this dream had been pestering me for so long.
        We traveled out Route 2, up into The Berkshire Mountains. The day was glorious. Bright sun and small cumulus clouds. It was warm, but the humidity was comfortably low. The kind of weather I remember from my childhood. I asked Guy if he knew where the old Beers place was. He replied that it had been nearly forty years since he had been there, so he wasn't sure either. I mentioned that it had to be on the left, as I always cross the road in the dream. Guy responded that it was, indeed, on the left. He mentioned that it might be gone, a victim of development. That comment raised a knot in my stomach. I had a moment of doubt, but just knew that could not be. We continued through Grafton, and were about five or six miles from Petersburg, when we both saw it at the same time.
        There it was, on the left side of the road. Just like in the dream. An ancient farmstead, built of local stone and white painted clapboard. I slowed the van down and said, "Well, I guess I'd better see what this is about." I pulled into the driveway and stopped the van. I sat for a moment, just looking at the scene around us.
        There was a man, standing on a ladder, painting an old trellis. There were signs of a lot of reconstruction activity all around. New lumber, stacked stone, wheelbarrows, paint cans. The fellow looked at us for a moment, and then went back to his painting.
        I took a deep breath and got out of the van. I walked over toward him. He stopped painting and eyed me through his paint-spattered glasses. "Are you my painting relief?" he asked.
        "Sorry, bad hands", I said. "But I do have a couple of helpers in the van."
        He smiled and said, "Well, tell 'em to grab a paintbrush. There's plenty of work for all." I laughed, took a breath, and introduced myself. He told me his name was Ed. I then related the story I've just told here. When I finished, he eyed me intensely for a moment, put down his paintbrush, and said, "Come with me. I have something for you." We walked to an old, single car garage that was full of all manner of tools, stacked lumber, old tires, and many boxes. On the floor, near the back, was a box full of old vinyl records. Ed bent down and started riffling through them. He came up with one, and then two, old vinyl record albums with the tattered shrink-wrap still on them.
        He stood up, handed them solemnly to me, and said, "These are the very last two. They're for you." I was nearly trembling, as I looked them over. Two volumes, apparently from a six-volume set, titled ""All Those People…" Fox Hollow 1968 Vol. III" and ""…And Not One Police" Fox Hollow 1969 Vol. IV".
        I looked on the back of the 1969 volume and there, on the back, I spied my brother's name and a paragraph attached to it: "Guy MacKenzie (Lullabye) -Grandma Buckham and Guy were close friends. She died in 1969, only two months before the festival and I like to feel that Guy was singing this song to her. He had written the song several years before, but it had been one of her favorites. Guy is an amateur, who writes exquisite songs, and sings them movingly. I doubt there is a professional singer who comes to Fox Hollow, but who wishes he could achieve the intense, quiet rapport with an audience that Guy does so naturally." I just stood there, in shock. I had never seen these before. I stammered to Ed that Guy, one of the singers on this album, was right in the car. I hailed Guy and Ian out of the car and introduced them to Ed. Ed was beaming at the whole scene. Guy looked at the albums. He said, in a rather far away voice, "I didn't even know I was on this!"
        Just at that moment, Ed's partner, Alan, came huffing around from the side of the building, pushing a loaded wheelbarrow. We were all introduced and Ed excused himself to get back to his painting. I shook his hand and thanked him for the gift. He said, "Evidently, they were waiting for you." I noted that he oddly emphasized the word, "you". He smiled and turned back to his work. Alan took up where Ed left off, showing us around the grounds. It was all so very dreamlike. I knew these windows, the well, the benches. Alan even invited us inside to show us how they had restored the interior. We begged off, saying that it was clear they were working very hard and we didn't want to take them from their work. We just asked to take some photos. Alan wandered around with us, showing us their projects, finished, current, and future. He said we were welcome to go down to the amphitheater, but the midges were really getting to Ian, so we declined their generous invitation. Alan said they get visitors from time to time, stopping in to take a peek, and they tell them they used to camp here, or perform, or come for the day to the festival. He really seemed pleased that folks would remember, and he said that they loved learning more about the place. It is no wonder that they do, I thought. This place was oozing magic back then.
        Around the back of the house, Guy stopped and said, "Over there, on that bench, Bob sat me and Dawn (Guy's bride) down and began to sing a song about making a whistle. While he was singing, he whittled away on a piece of wood. When he finished the song, he'd also finished whittling. He'd carved a whistle, and then played the tune of the song on the brand-new whistle."
        The pond, where I used to catch frogs was still there. Alan told us the story of "Legs" Diamond having it made to impress a woman with whom he had fallen in love. He said that it had silted in, over the years, but they were planning to restore it to its original heart shape.
We took a few more pictures, thanked them again and told them we'd best be off so they could return to their labor of love.
As we pulled away, I noticed Guy, casting a long last look at the venerable, old place. We drove back to Schenectady, mostly in silence, pretty well stunned by the whole affair.
Of course, the story is not finished, yet. I have yet to discover what is on those albums. Is there a song I need to know? A story? I am hoping there will be more to this mystery. I don't know yet what it might be, but I am sure going to try to find out.


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Mudcat time: 20 October 7:51 AM EDT

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