What’s going on around here: Mack’s new banjo

A quick, overdue, and infrequent recap of two happenings of import at our place.

By the way . . . if you’d like to see other “What’s Going On . . . ” see here (Springtime), or here (a fall edition), or here (Springtime flooding) or even here (a Summer solstice post), and here (for once, a November post), and actually there are oodles more. If you wanna see all of them, just type “what’s going on” in the little search bar to the right!

young man holding banjo in guitar store

Little Mack.

1. So our little Mack is growing up

Gentle reader. Perhaps you have been blessed–as have I–with a houseful of littles who have, one by one, grown quite large and then winged their way to their own adventures, i.e.: AWAY FROM YOU. So you know what it’s like to both anticipate and dread the day that your youngest does the same.

(I’ve been writing this blog for a long time! Check out this post I wrote about little Mack when he was actually little. I guarantee it’ll make you chuckle.)

He surely is “a pistol,” as my Grandma Young would have called this youngest child of ours. As he pushed out of the womb, he formed his first argument on his tiny lips. From a young age, his default response to every question was NO. Clear the table, Mally? Nope. Help with the laundry please? NO. Please take out the trash! NO! (Not that he got away with such stubborn cheekery, and by the end of the day, one did tire of it.)

Still. I loved little him to distraction, because I’m his mama and that comes with the territory. But also maybe because he pushed back so hard, had such a hilarious wit, and made me laugh a hundred times a day. I still love him to distraction, matter of fact, and I’m mightily relieved that the years have not erased his wit but have softened him around the edges a bit.

Nowadays he often says YES. Wash the dishes for me, honey? *sigh* YES. Mack, please run out and shut in the chickens. YES. Do you want two or three hamburgers for dinner, Mally? YES, yes, yes. (How about four, Mom?)

So when this hard-working young man asked if we could possibly revise our recent travel plans so we could stop at a special guitar shop in Springfield, MO, so he could look at–and possibly buy–a new banjo, Bryan and I both said . . . YES.

Mack had done the research and was hankering to play this one particular banjo. He already has a banjo, but it’s a beginner model, and he definitely is no longer a beginner. He practices several hours a day, when he can. He’s good. I turn off the music in the kitchen when he is practicing. (I can hear him through the floorboards, down in his basement room.) (Don’t tell him. He’ll get the big head.) 🙂

At the Springfield guitar store, Mack played that banjo for quite a long time, thoughtfully, assessing. In the end, he bought it. His face was bright red as he carried it up to the counter, not being accustomed to spending that much money in one place. Or at all. I am so proud of him. Not just for working so hard to learn how to play the banjo with excellence, but for working hard enough at his summer job to save up enough money to buy a good instrument. Also I’m proud of him for being the kind of young man who can save, plan, and work hard enough to achieve this excellence. That takes grit and patience.

And, c’mon, honestly, for washing the dishes for me when I ask, and sometimes, even, when I don’t.

For learning at last to say YES more often than no.

Frank W. Benson Portrait of Joseph Lindon Smith (1884)

Frank W. Benson Portrait of Joseph Lindon Smith (1884), Wikipedia

2. Rolling pins are available!

med and small French rolling pins

The “Mommy and Me” set in Maple.

I know this is a rather random placement, but I wanted to mention that Dad is still making French rolling pins for my shop. I know it’s also rather incredible, at the risk of using the word “rather” too often, but at 89, it seems like his work just gets better and better. How is this even possible? 89 is old. (No offense, Dad.) Yet Dad still has sharp eyes, steady hands, and the abilities and talents of his younger days. As he says, staying busy in his shop keeps him out of trouble, and provides a bit of coffee money, so I’m doing my part!

So if you need a gift for a loved one or for your own sweet self, click on over to My Shop and check out all the pretty options. Keep my sweet Dad off the streets. (I keep remonstrating myself to replace some of those older photos, but I also keep ignoring that bossy voice, and leave the old photos as they are.) My original French rolling pin that Dad made for me (out of maple) is over 13 years old, and I use it every day.

I’m pretty sure that if you purchase a rolling pin before December 15th that I can even get it to you before Christmas!

That’s it for now. I’ve been in a rut of NOT writing blog posts, and I’ve missed it. I have missed you, my gentle reader. I somehow feel like if I push PUBLISH, on this post that I started months ago, I’ll propel my lazy self out of that rut.

Take care.



P.S. If you made it to the end, please (oh please) say hi in the comments! It would mean a lot to me to hear that you are doing well.





20 thoughts on “What’s going on around here: Mack’s new banjo

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh yes, it really is! The other kids all played instruments, as well, but Mack really has made music a priority, and that is a delight to this mama’s heart! I hope you’re doing well, heather. I haven’t seen you or your family in such a long time!

  1. Alisha Ralston

    Hi, Amy!
    I so enjoy your posts, thank you for taking time to write this up. And now I shall be off to check out your shop! I do love a good rolling pin.
    See you all soon!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Aww, thanks, Alisha! If you decide you want to purchase a good rolling pin but want to pick it up here at the farm, please send me a note. You wouldn’t have to pay shipping that way!

  2. Tom :D

    Hi Amy! Your FB post brought me here…Malachi has grown so much in such a short time! (Not so short, but alas.) It’s didn’t seem all that long ago when he was crushing it in our Taekwondo classes!

    I always wanted to learn how to play the Banjo. I am seriously considering picking (pun intended) a starter up when my life slows down a bit. Or just bite the Banjo bullet and forge ahead regardless. How close is the Mack to graduating, any plans after High School? Please tell him I said hello!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Hi Tom!
      Mack is thinking about giving lessons, so you might keep that in mind . . . and I’d say–don’t wait for life to slow down a bit. It never will! Just bite that bullet and start! Mack is a junior, and he has some plans for his after-high-school years, but I might get in trouble if I divulge. (Not college, at least not at first.) We’ll see! I’ll tell him hi for you!

  3. Gene Gage

    So – Amy,
    Next time you add to your blog, why don’t you include a link to a place where we can listen to Mack playing? I’d love to listen to 30 minutes of banjo.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I will work on that! Mack has actually been working on an original composition, and besides that he is delving in jazz. On the banjo. I LOVE it!! He plays such a wide repertoire now, and excuse me for sounding like a braggy Mama!

  4. Jeannie

    Thank you, Amy! Hadn’t realized – in all my busy-ness – that I too, have missed your posts. There’s always something there to make me smile. So, thank you, again! And have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. Janet Dugan

    It makes me happy to hear about people’s joy in raising their children, just as I had. It is such a gift! I vote for listening to Mack’s banjo too!

  6. Kay

    Hi Friend! I had to really look to be sure that was Mack because he looked so grown up!
    All is well here for us as we prepare for Christmas and are enjoying seeing it all through our Littles’ eyes.
    Holiday Blessings to you and your family!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Hello, Kay!
      Sometimes I still do a double take when I see Mack–he grew up so fast! He is a full foot taller than me now too, so I have to look WAY up when I do that double take. Always sweet to hear from you, friend.

  7. Anne

    Oh, Amy, I was afraid you had maybe dropped off the face of the earth!
    I’ve missed you! I have enjoyed this blog for a few years now, since a Google search for seed cake recipes brought me here, and my life has never been the same.
    Your schtick is very similar to my mothers’, who, incidentally, is the occasional banjo-picker in this household. Glad to hear all is well Nebraska way.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Anne, your comment really brightened my day! thank you for taking the time to type it out. I was actually the original banjo picker in the family, but then Mack started playing and he surged past me in his abilities so quickly and so thoroughly that I put my banjo down for the time being. I’d rather listen to him play! Instead, I’m practicing my viola (my dad made me one when I was in college and I never learned to play it very well) and I’m really loving that now. Yes! All is well here! We are very busy and happily so, on our little farm and with our ever-growing family. (We have 15 grandies now, and two more on the way in 2024. God is good!)

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