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“Down Home” BACK PAGES 2/09



I am always amazed at the time it takes for me to get to reworking these pages and embarrassed that my last entry here was almost 5 years ago!. With no other thought than that it was time to get working on the site, I had spent the week John died working to get our old software installed on the big computer at the office [bringing it in from home] and finished with the last glitch [thank you Patty!] at about 7:30PM Thursday evening, Oct. 30. Linda called around 11:30 am our time, Friday Oct.31, to tell me the news. And, from the moment I got off the phone with her till about 10PM that evening, Todd worked with me to get organized and Patty Simmons, previously mentioned…our website guru, got Visitor’s Pages arranged for the reorganized site and Memorial Pages and I left for Germany on the Sunday.

It was beautiful, clear, fall weather…and the town of Besigheim, where John and Linda had settled several years before, was right out of our childhood fairy tale books! A hilltop city of half-timber houses, surrounded by a wall–a part of which was part of the foundation of their 1494 house–the surrounding hillsides were all vineyards! It is no surprise they came there and loved it.

It doesn’t seem possible that John has passed onward. His last several years had not been fun and his passing in his sleep–while surely a blessing for which I am grateful and an end to his discomfort–still leaves me in disbelief. It does not seem possible to me that he is gone. And yet it is so. And, over the last several months, we’ve all been trying to deal with that.

Breezy Ridge belonged to both of us, and I have always run the business of the company. That does not change with his passing…and in fact, it becomes even more important now for Breezy Ridge to continue to be the vehicle for his inventions, books, recordings, etc. to make sure that they will always be available. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that we both knew the company was more important than either of us…and when we had problems, that was what kept things going. The music was more important than we were.

At the NAMM show in California, we’d considered getting a space for a memorial service…but, given that NAMM does a Memorial in the Lobby on the evening of the first day of the show–this year that encompassed 96 people even missing our friend Melissa Marcks– we figured everyone would come to the booth first. So we just decided to make from 5 – 6 pm everyday a gathering. There were tears and laughter, stories and stillness…all shared with whoever came. Some people came asking for John, not knowing the news.

Friends and family on the NAMM Booth on Saturday evening, around 7 PM. You always smile for a camera!

At NAMM, I found it interesting, in a perverse sort of way, that friends told of how they’d been told tales of how Breezy Ridge would now die as well , without John at the helm. One always expects that sort of thing at a trade show…but it is not the truth..

I told John that he was the only musician who knew how to make strings better so he had no right to complain about what was available to us [as professional players]. That comment, while changing strings between workshops at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, seems to have provoked something I would never have foreseen…that two old hippies like us would end up with a company…and the intention of that company has never wavered…to make it easier for people, plunkers as well as professionals, to make music. That has not changed.

One of the last projects we embarked upon was the production of new bridge pins. Check out the Picks and Bridge Pins Page for all the details. We are very proud of them and enjoyed the idea of making them into earrings as well…because they were so beautiful!

In these somewhat uncertain times, my only certainty is that people need music more than ever to help them deal with their lives. Music supports us and consoles us, it comforts us and surprises us, it tethers us and it provokes us! Every time a musician plays music, they change not only the vibration of their life and their corner of the world, but they change the whole of which we all are a part. When we say “Music Really Does Make the World a Better Place!”, we mean it wholeheartedly…because we know it is something which each of us has the power to do every time we make music..

Mary Faith Rhoads-Lewis.

Graphics and logos on this web site are trademarked, copyrighted, or registered by Breezy Ridge® Instruments, Ltd., Mary Faith Rhoads-Lewis or Linda Pearse, Center Valley, PA 18034, and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Breezy Ridge® Instruments, Ltd.

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