Sunday, October 8, 2017


UPDATE. There will be a memorial gathering for Bud on October 21 2017 2pm at Soda Springs Park.  I imagine that there will be a lot of folks attending. As it should be.  If you attend, please extend my love to Donna, Erin and Bud III.

I sometimes use the term, 'the inevitable' .. especially when speaking over the years with my good friend, Ken Rugg.  I would not have ever met Bud Ford, Jr. if it was not for my friendship with Rugg.  The serendipity of life winds its way all over the place in this story. To eulogize Bud, I have to mention Rugg and CapriTaurus and dulcimers and the Renaissance Faire and Greeley, Colorado and how we don't have to like it when friends die.  But.  It is inevitable.

Rugg pretty much saved my bacon almost fifty years ago.  Had we not gotten together to make theatre in Long Beach, I'd not have really known him, lived in Long Beach and had that influence, but I'd never have met his brothers and taken up the mountain dulcimer, wound up at the Renaissance Faire and so much good stuff that it won't fit here.  Meeting the Ford family would never have happened.  

There's so much story and this is not about that. This is about later.  Twelve years ago I dropped into The Dulcimer Shop in Manitou to see The Fords and magic was brewing.  It was the first time that we had met in person. The Mountain Music Festival was in bloom. Robert and Janette Force were in attendance, along with my old friend, Michael Johnson.  That's a story all on its own. 
Bud III, Donna, Bud II and Erin. Christmas Window by David  Gonzales
                                                           Photo by Robert Force

This writing is to eulogize a guy who was steeped in his community. Steeped in love and steeped in music.  The story of how Bud and his wife, the beautiful Donna, and their kids: Bud III and elfin Erin.. made a little storefront in Manitou Springs, Colorado a landmark is part of it. How their Mountain Music Festival was an annual tradition.  How the world of mountain dulcimers and acoustic music was enhanced by their efforts.    

They did a lot.  

Bud helped me make a special art project to commemorate Totem Teddy, the mascot Alaskan Bear Totem on the Greeley campus of what is now the University of Northern Colorado.  
Bear photo by Lloyd Norton
The guy was a whirlwind of helping.  His generosity is something that our little world will always appreciate. 

So.  Bud's gone.  The connection that I feel to Manitou,  including my childhood, and Donna and those pesky kids: Bud III and Erin, is one that I treasure. The Fords are deeply rooted in Manitou Springs, so I am sure that there will be a celebration of life to remember and tell stories. It's the stories that sustain us through the tears and our loss.  

The photo above is at the suggestion of Janette Force: a little altar.   She's Robert Force's sweet love. Robert is an icon in the world of mountain dulcimer.  I met them long ago, going back to that Rugg connection that I mentioned.  Janette is wonderful. Really.  

Lighting a candle is a ritual that we should all consider.  It's a personal statement that affects us individually.  It wasn't until I did Janette's ritual that the gravity of Bud's passing sank in. Thank you, Janette.

Life goes on.  We must find a way to love one another.  

It is really important.

Love to the Fords.. and to you, my reader, too. 
October 8, 2017

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