Mar 10, 2012

In Memory of Oren Siders

Oren Siders died Friday march 9th, 2012. I'd spent the day with him Thursday making a mandolin. He seemed fine, but was a little tired as usual. We glued the back on his mandolin, and knocked off early. I learned today, that he had some complication Friday in his abdomen which would normally be treatable, but in his weakened state it was too much.

I remember, at his retirement party, all these people I'd never met saying what I already knew; how he was so generous with knowledge on how to fix things, loaning and sharing tools and instruments and just about anything you can imagine. Almost any time I called him he'd be off somewhere managing the pouring of a foundation, or fixing a pump, or welding and repairing some piece of equipment.

We loved him. He kept the jam going . He made sure we had amps and mikes and a place to play. Whenever we were without a venue he snagged me to go talk to restaurants and we'd find a new place. That's how we wound up at PJ's.

He played bass to support the group but appreciated being relieved so he could practice some lead. It baffled me how he could keep time so well with the base, but "stray so far" with the fiddle! That is, until I tried it! Playing bass is tough, but fiddling' is just an exercise in unmercifully arduous dexterity. At our age, you shouldn't even try, but Oren seemed drawn to big, complex problems. So I was not surprised when he decided to make bluegrass instruments from scratch.

For the last couple of years we've spent Thursdays in his shop working on fiddles and mandolins. We'd shave and tap and tune pieces of wood, listen to a Lester Flatt album from 1952, and give chewing "tebakky" to Dusty his horse who would stick his head in the door to see what's going on. I wouldn't take a herd of horses for that time now.

Adios cowboy, you'll be sorely missed.

Oren's funeral will be held at Williams Funeral home tomorrow (monday march 12th at 2:00, visitation at 1:00)

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