What a gift to have met and then be offered friendship with the beautiful ones. Living in the Forty Acres of musicians neighborhood, Jack found himself with room mates that still astonish him decades later.
Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson took Jack under their wing and taught him well about music and love. The romance of Kismet. Poets with guitars and a mandolin, Coleridge and Tennyson did not anticipate these two.
A gentleness with much laughter and brilliance. Together they astonished people coast to coast. The little coffee houses, the folk music cafe’s. Platforms and postage stamp stages. It was the same show every time. The musical score was different from place to place, but the humor and duet solidity was always the same. They got invited back all the time. It was a dance with romance that never grew old, for all of us and them too.
Jack was invited along on a road trip with them, way back in the early 70’s. That’s a bit over 50 years ago in the last century if you like doing math while reading. Small town colleges were a significant place to perform on the trip. From Indiana to Pennsylvania and then way up in northern New York state to finish off. Four of us in the old four door. Gator, Mike Cass on dobro and pedal steel and Bill and Judy. The trunk had a few small packs of personal “stage clothing” (no cowboy hats) and a few changes of underwear. The rest of the trunk was instrument cases lined up. Fender to fender with guitars, mandolins, a dobro, several fiddles and a pedal steel.
We ate at Campus’ lunchrooms (Wittenberg in Ohio was the best) and made do with sleeping quarters. Often the sleeping bags were used on the living room floors of the friendly families that arranged the bookings. No extra money for a motel. Airbub was not even a concept and hotels had good water pressure with room costs to match.
It was a grand time and music poured out like anointed oil upon this rag-tag quartet. Gas was cheap and the car didn’t use any oil either. There were tips from impromptu sidewalk venues and generous amounts of coffee and sandwiches from club owners. We ate well and for the most part, played well. Plenty of obscure folk and country blues songs that resonated with us and the young folks that go to those sorts of places.
When Bill was dying at the VA (he was fluent in Japanese. Hush hush stuff) I stood on his right and Jim Tordoff, an excellent banjo player, stood on his left. We prayed and told him, if it works this way, we would like him to meet us when it’s our turn. Meet us with that Lloyd Loar Gibson with gold tuners.
We can then go worship the risen Lord forever together. Kiss the son indeed. We loved Bill and Judy, still do. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator