Bunches show up for Fruit Jar Pickers | TheUnion.com

Bunches show up for Fruit Jar Pickers

Several locals have gotten into accidents in the last few weeks, including Larry “Poppy” Graham, who lost his left foot in a motorcycle mishap. Larry was Medivac’d to a Roseville hospital, is doing well and should be home very soon. This being Littletown, by the time the news trickled down to me he had lost his entire leg, total-body gangrene had set in and he was on the brink of takin’ harp lessons.

The Washington Hotel was host to the Fruit Jar Pickers of Rough and Ready two or three Fridays back and threw a barbecue for all their fans. There was a majorly big crowd, and the patio side of the hotel could barely hold all of them.

Carol Bryant practically beat herself to death playing the spoons and sung for all she was worth. Her daughter Chelsea was there, on leave from her Army tour in Iraq. Sheridan, who plays the banjitar, wrote a very special song for her – his lyrics to the tune of “Running Bear” but titled “Running Scared.” Excellent work, Sheridan!

Warrant Officer IV Michael Sagely, son of Bigtown’s Bob and Eleanor Sagely, was also present, relaxing with his family. He was home on leave from his duties in Special Forces in Virginia. They both received heavy, appreciative applause.

Eldorado was right up front with his wife, Cheryol, as were Fred and Donna Martin and Barb and Ed Johnson, and Walt Lawson himself was chillin’ with his pals … so many friendly people!

Irma Hart of Auburn came over to say hello. She is such a sparkly, seriously good-lookin’ woman I wanted to just go on home and sulk in the corner. She is a friend and dedicated fan of “Red” Sagraves, one of the group’s guitarists, and had all kinds of sweet things to say about him. “He’s just a precious guy,” was one of ’em, and by Dad, I want to hear a big sentimental “awww” right this minute from all of – thank you.

Irma told me that in the afternoon, after entertaining the usual Sunday crowd at the Ole Opry House in Rough and Ready, the Pickers take turns playing at one of the nine convalescent homes in the area. Then toward evening, they end up at Perko’s playing for the enjoyment of the evening crowd. Hailfar, don’t these people ever just set down and watch the clouds roll by?!

Henry and Su DeCorte were ecstatic to have the FJP at the hotel. “We’ve had several people ask when they’re coming back, and we sure don’t want to wait a whole year for that to happen again,” Su said. “Everybody loved them. They were the best entertainment we’ve ever had. I’ve catered many dinners, weddings and other special events over the years, but this barbecue and band were enjoyed by the happiest bunch of people I’ve ever met.”

The best part for me, though, was meeting Christina Dabis’ mom, Bertie Drem. She wrote out her name for me in such a beautiful hand – “Aw, my name’s so simple everybody manages to screw it up somehow!” and she laughed and laughed. We fell into a conversation for about an hour and I’m ashamed to say I forgot about the Pickers for awhile.

She’s lived in Nevada County 44 years, raised all her kids up in North San Juan. She is a founding member of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild and an avid quilter. She owns a New Home sewing machine, a Singer Featherweight and a treadle “because you never know when the lights are gonna go out.” Spoken like a true Nevada Countian! It was a treat to meet you, Bertie.


Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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