Well, I anxiously opened the file, and, well, WOW!
"Torrey Wash" really shocked my emotions! Memories of red sand oozing through my toes as I walk barefoot through a wash flooded my mind of this great little area we Southern Utahn's like to call "God's Country." I was suddenly inspired to write about this charming little town called "Torrey."
Torrey is in Wayne County near Capital Reef for those of you who don't know the area. If you haven't been there, you should! Hopefully by the end of this blog, you'll be booking your flights, or getting out your calendar, googling it on MapQuest to figure out how and when you're going to get down there for some "Torrey time!"
As you may remember, I grew up in Escalante, a town just 60 miles from Torrey (over the mountain and through the staircase!) One memory of Torrey is driving through, to quote my dad, "one helluva snow storm" to play for a dance. Yes, I am the youngest of one of the original members of the Griffin Family Band! We played for every dance in Southern Utah, be it the 4th of July celebration or someone's weddin', we were booked! (sorry, when I get into my Southern Utah mindset, I start to take on the dialect as well!)
My folks, Bill and Dawn Griffin, were amazing musicians and between the two of them, could play any one of several different instruments: piano, guitar, accordion, banjo and marimba to name a few. Then with six little "chillins" to add to it, we added in a trumpet, drums, flute and lots of singers who could sing parts! Well, okay, let me clarify a few things--we all knew at least 3 chords--that's the bare minimum to play most songs. My mother, at the piano, would call out a chord. "A minor!" What?? A minor?? hmmm If we didn't know it, we would strum "softly" and fake it. But if it was C, F or G, we really "let 'er rip!" I remember telling my kids you officially knew how to play an instrument if you knew C F and G. They would give me a puzzled look. Years later, I found out, they never really understood what that meant . . . now they ask with a smile "Mom, what exactly is "see effin' G?" haha smart alecks . .
As we got older and got together, my mother would have a song she'd been working on and would hand out the parts. "Doug," she'd say, "you'll be singing bass on this one." Doug, bless his heart, has a great singing voice but wouldn't sing if I asked him, but would answer with a pleasant "Okay, Mom!" He never refused to sing when she asked and she always asked without hesitation. In the words of my Grandma Griffin, "Laaaard, sonny, you've got the talent, now use it! Ya don't need to be coaxed!" Oh if you could only hear me say that, it would be very, very funny, trust me!
The last time the Griffin Family Band was officially together for a "gig" was at my Dad's 80th birthday party in October of 2006. We had a great time singing and sharing all of our favorite songs with friends and family. The following year, however, we lost my mother very suddenly to an aneurism. She and Dad were a few months shy of their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
Needless to say, her shoes have been very hard to fill. Nicki, my oldest sister, has really stepped up to the challenge though. She really is amazing on the piano and can play by ear, just like our mother. We have had a good time, standing around the piano singing and figuring out some of these songs, as we'd stop her on occasion, "Hey, I don't think that's the chord Mom used to play!" Thanks, Nik, for sharin' your talent!
This coming July, Boulder Heritage Days, in Boulder, Utah, is paying tribute to Boulder women, of which my mother is one. They have asked our family to come and entertain and pay tribute to our mother by singing some of our favorite songs and "biggest hits!" We are very excited about the chance to get together again. Tickets are going fast so book your flights now!! Haha, okay, well, it's free and you'll kinda need to bring your own camp chairs - but get there early, the front row "mosh pit" will fill up fast! Boulder is just over the mountain from Torrey, of which you could enjoy the most beautiful drive of your life.
16 x 20
The quakies over the mountain are breathtaking - this was taken in the fall as the leaves were changing
Torrey is one of Doug's favorite places to paint as well. He's represented by Torrey Gallery there on the "main drag" and has recently been asked to teach a workshop there! So, effective immediately, Torrey has been added to Doug's "Workshop Tour!" June 23-26 are the dates. Go to the link to the right of this blog or on our website and fill out a registration form. The response to the workshops this year has been phenomenal and they are filling up fast. We are excited to spend some time with you artists!!
I'm adding a few other paintings of Torrey and Boulder Mountain to get you inspired to either visit or paint. It may just be from my perspective, but I do believe this country is one of the most well-kept secrets in the world!! shhhh let's just keep that between you and me . . .
Doug painted this onsite in front of Torrey Gallery up Main Street to the Chuckwagon.