Dear Readers, Last week, in Part One of Three about my recent Winfield Bluegrass experiences, I chronicled how it was impossible to be anything other than happy camper. Even if camping hadn’t been such a cinch, I like to think I would have maintained a cheery disposition. Luckily for me and for my friends old and new, we never had to find if that were truly the case. Happy campers all, my pals and I had a ball.

I had not seen most my “old friends” since I graduated from Southwestern College 38 years ago. The intervening years line our faces, yet our bonds of affection have not aged at all. As for my “new” fast friends, I had not grasped how close we had become until we hugged goodbye, parting with laughter in our throats and tears in our eyes. Upon reflection, the warp-speed of my new connections was a byproduct of the atmosphere at our campsite, “The Point,” and a credit to each member of this group who have for several decades established their own Winfield Bluegrass traditions.

I’d like to tell you more about my new friends but I shot myself in the columnist foot early in the week by promising I wouldn’t “name names” or “tell tales out school” when it came to what went on at The Point. That promise was not, however, extended to my old college chums for two reasons—they didn’t ask for such a pledge and because we’re all just glad our college years were lived in pre-cell phone days. Therefore, any old tale I tell can be denied, and our new tales are tame in comparison.

For example, I spent one day of the festival hanging with a college roommate and the wildest thing we did all day was to get our cheeks (faces, folks, faces) painted a unique-to-us-only design of clovers, rainbows and guitars. Her name is Emalee Curtis McCafferty and she’s a joy, by the way. She remains as fun and abundantly full of energy as when we became friends through Methodist High School groups.

Then there’s Jeff Wampler, whoImistookforacopwhen showed up to camp one night. I won’t try to explain our rowdy, rarely quiet old friendship except to say it out evolved because we had the same work-study shifts in SC’s library. We weren’t even noisy at Winfield Bluegrass though I did exclaim loudly when I saw pictures of his four beautiful daughters. Plus the hooligan is a grandpa now, too!

Then there’s my old friend Albert Horning. Trying to explain our friendship is like trying to explain being left-handed. Albert told me I could write any of our stories I want but all that matters that each of our tales ends the same way. Then and now, the man’s got my back. Sure was good to see you, too, Albert.

I love that my friends and I continue to have a ball, though we have returned to real-life. And in Part Three, I’ll share with you the other thing I carried back: The Music.

Until next week—keep your eyes on the stars and your back to the wind.