Bean Blossom and Great Folks in Bluegrass - Part 4
Sadly, in all this, he missed Dr. Ralph Stanley's show - and those of J.D. Crowe and the Cherryholmes and I'd been told by someone that as he came to backstage besides being so apologetic for all the fuss he was upset to be missing the shows. You see, the Niidas came way over here from Japan JUST to come to the festival at Bean Blossom!!! And here he had to miss Saturday night.
So I got this idea to videotape what was left of Ralph's show and took up a note to get Ralph to send well wishes to Mr. Niida. Earlier in the afternoon they'd been talking up at Ralph's record table and Mr. Niida said he'd been at a show Ralph did in Japan way back in 1970; they had a nice little chat about that. So Ralph sent out a very nice message to Niida. I caught J.D. Crowe and then Molly Cherryholmes who each graciously sent along their own nice wishes to Mr. Niida. Then I went and got each Clinch Mountain Boy to send along some nice words. It was fun to gather all that personal good will to take to a friend who was SOOOO very far from home. Niida does a pretty good job of speaking English but still! Imagine being jetlagged, dehydrated, worn out and excited all at the same time and being many thousands of miles away from home and taken to a strange hospital in some little country town! He had great care there and as we rode back to the festival he got to see some of Ralph's and JD's shows on the videocamera -- and most importantly hear how all those bluegrass stars and idols of his were taking time to wish him well!!!!! He was, well, very touched by all those caring messages and I think that despite missing the shows he came so far to hear that he'll carry back some very good memories of how his many American friends indeed care about him.
So now Mr. Niida is all better and has been cautioned to drink bunches of water and he and his wife head back over to Japan tomorrow - so wish them well! It was so nice to get to spend some time with them and watch how all the good folks at a bluegrass festival lend a hand or a bottle of water or a hug or whatever is needed to help even a "rank" (only a Stanley reference here!) stranger from another country in his time of need. It was beautiful to witness the caring and compassion that spread like a perfect sunrise over our Japanese friend and seemed to revive his incredible, joyous vitality and restore him. That's what the bluegrass world is all about folks. And maybe none of this would ever have happened but for a cross-eyed, backward Kentucky child who grew up to be one of the greatest musicians of our time. I'm sure glad I lived in the days of Bill Monroe, Bean Blossom, and the good folks I've met through bluegrass music.