The New New Banjo & A Postcard From Home

It’s a nice banjo, but I love my dad so much more.

You can catch up on the story with these links:

For more information on the various banjos I have played over the last 515+ YouTube videos, check our Banjos I Have Known.

Last, but not least, to learn about the signatures on the head of my Somerset S1P banjo,just repeat to yourself that it’s just a show . . .

Four Seasons on Brick Kiln Road is Sold Out!

If you wanted a copy but were waiting . . . well, you waited too long.

4 Seasons on Brick Kiln Road

Probably the best thing I have ever done, and it is now officially out of print.
I’m sad, but happy I did it. The Creative Commons copy will live forever. The print copies will be around for a long time.

Brick Kiln Road . . . I still go there every night in my dreams, but I still miss it when I wake up. I was foolish enough to think that capturing a place and time would help me deal with missing it, but the sad truth is that it only painted the pictures even brighter in my memory. Not just the little piece of Brick Kiln Road that I shared with you in the book – Crisfield was is and I guess will always be running through my heart and mind.

I guess that makes me a lucky man.

What gives, baby?

Mike writes,

Patrick, several days ago, Dear Old Dad posted the fact that he, you and the doctors have to find out what the (heck) was going on with you. He asked us to pray for you because you’ve been having some weird and painful symptoms. Yet all we hear in the meantime is news of Invictus and Quinoa’s birthday. Shouldn’t there be some news of you? Your Dad said he’ll keep us posted, but all we hear of is a cat (albeit a beautiful one) and a hedgehog. What gives, baby

We never really got any answers from the hospital visits, so I didn’t know what to post.

Sometimes when you are in pain, perhaps especially when you are in pain, it is easier to focus on the little household things. I can play my guitar, thank God for that – but it will be months before my shoulder is healed enough for me to sit with the five-string in more or less normal banjo posture. The guitar is much easier and I am hoping to do a little project soon.

Then there is the neuropathy in my feet. not much to say on that except that I am in agony, the prescriptions don’t work and Amy and I are trying to find the right doctor and hold together while I deal with indescribable pain. It used to be once in a while, but now it is constant.

There are other little things. My old Mercury is stuck in Crisfield and with all the surgeries since October I have been pretty much stuck in our apartment. (I REALLY need a ride to get my car and see my folks!) It has been so long since I have been able to take a walk in the woods alone or sit by the banks of the Chesapeake I . . . well, enough of my troubles. I was getting along by positing pictures of my two little companions.

I will try to post less Dr. Doolittle and get some more work accomplished.

Than you for understanding.

God bless,

One Year With Invictus

When we walked into the animal shelter he made eye contact with me right away and, in spite of a terrible wound on his left rear leg, he climbed down from the pillow the volunteers had set up for him and came right to the front of his cage.

Right to me.

From that moment on I was his and he – well, if you read your Kipling you understand that cats belong to no one.

Amy said, “There’s your cat.”

A Maine coon with paws the size of steam shovels and big beautiful eyes.

 Invictus' first visit

Invictus’ first visit

He was hurt and I was hurt. His left leg had been so badly mauled that the shelter had given him slim chance of survival. I was still reeling over the death my cat Simca.

The two of us, cat and man, sat together in a visiting room. Each steeped in our own pain. After a bit I decided to fill out the adoption papers. As I was writing I was overcome with grief for dear old Simca and fear for this new desperately injured cat. I sat there with the clipboard in my hands and wept.

Suddenly a very large paw appeared on the clipboard, pulling gently it down until I was looking into the eyes of the as yet unnamed Maine coon.

We looked at each other for what seemed like a long while.

I dried my tears, stroked the big cat’s head for a while and finished the adoption papers.

On April 10, 2013 we brought him home and nothing has been the same.

Amy named him Invictus. I think it fits.

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus the cat comes to me when I am in pain.
He curls up next to me as I ride out migraines, and has no problem letting me bury my face into his fur so I can cry from the pain without waking up Amy.
He has his own spot on my desk and later in the spring I am going to plant a flower box full of stuff for him to tear up on the patio.

He was a throwaway. Almost lost forever, but the Manassas City Animal Shelter saved this amazing animal who has become such a huge part of our family.

We love you, Invictus.
I love you.
Thank you.

Patrick holding Invictus for the first time.

Patrick holding Invictus for the first time.