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(WINCHESTER) - Sometimes you visit a place and you just know that things are right. Doesn’t happen all the time but when it does you can feel in down in your soul. Jayne and I found one of those places a few weeks back. Funny thing though, it was right in our own Middle Tennessee back yard! We didn’t have to travel across the state, which we gladly do on many occasions. We just had to drive out to Tims Ford State Park over in Franklin County.

Held just about Pickin and Grinnin at Tims Ford State Park - photos by Jayne every other Saturday night at the Rec. Center there in the park you’ll find some of the best pickin’ and grinnin’ anywhere! And they never know just who will show up on any given weekend. Ya’ see, they post fliers around the park letting folks know to come over and enjoy the fun. And all are welcome.

David Watson, Park Ranger, tells me they’ve been doing this for about 18 years now and during that time they’ve had some fairly famous folks show up to take part in the festivities. And through the years they’ve grown to be kinda like a family. His son was there pickin' and his mother was out there 'cuttin' a rug'. But I didn't mean just his family. Over these last 18 or so years folks have just gotten to know each other and with that comes that sense of family and familiarity and easiness. There’s so much enjoyment and just good ol’ down home fun that some folks drive a lot of miles just to listen and join in.

Kinda reminds me of the way I’ve always Pickin and Grinnin at Tims Ford State Park - photos by Jayne pictured things during the first part of the last century. Times were hard and folks had to work hard to make it from one day to the next, let alone one winter to the next. There wasn’t a lot to time for ‘entertainment’ so the time taken was put to as much good use as possible.

I can just picture folks getting cleaned up on a Saturday night and loadin’ the wagon with all the family, grandma and grandpa too (and probably even the dog). Getting everyone together and headin’ down to the local church or school house. Once there you could meet up with your neighbors and find out how things were going for them over in their neck of the woods. Everyone would bring some little something to eat and you know some of them would bring a little ‘White Lightnin’ along just to take the chill out of the air. (You won’t find anything like that at Tims Ford though, so don’t get any foolish ideas!)

The real fun would start with all the music makers gathering in a big circle – probably around a camp fire seein’ as how there wasn’t electricity to light the night. Someone would start everything off with an old favorite that would have everyone’s toe’s a tappin’ and hands clappin’. The young’uns would be running around playing tag or hide and go seek until it got a little late and then you’d find them curled up around the fire with dream filled eyes listening to what must have been some sweet mountain music.

I can close my eyes and see it all just like it was yesterday.

Whether or not my own children will agree I’m not quite old enough to have actually been around during those times. I can certainly imagine it though.

That’s probably what Pickin and Grinnin at Tims Ford State Park - photos by Jaynemakes the pickin’ and grinnin’ over at Tims Ford State Park so appealing to me. We arrived just a tad late so when we pulled up in the parking lot things had already started jumpin’. The first thing you’ll notice is that they’ve all pulled their chairs in a big circle. (They are inside so there’s no campfire going. There was one in the fireplace the night we were there though.) They sit in a circle and take turns choosing what song to play. As your turn comes up you can pick most any song you would like to play. Most of the regulars have been playing for many years and can pick up the rhythm and melody to the song you’ve chosen even if they’ve never heard it before. You’ll also be treated to some of the best pickin’ you’ll hear anywhere. And I mean anywhere. Not everyone is at the professional level but everyone joins in because it feels right.

Should you decide to come out and join in or just hang out and enjoy the music (and you should) remember to call ahead before you head out. Things happen, times may change. Hey – they could all become famous and be playing at the Mother Church of Country Music on that particular Saturday night!

Oh, speaking of ‘treats’, more often then not you’ll find the coffee pot on and there’ll be some cookies or other snacks back in the back there somewhere.

Just like I would imagine it was many years ago.

Sometimes you visit a place and you just know that things are right. Doesn’t happen all the time but when it does you can feel in down in your soul.

Here’s hoping you can find that place that makes your soul smile ‘cause I know it’s somewhere near in the 3 States of Tennessee.

Keep smilin’ ^_^


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