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Man's idea for music party fits 'hole wanting to be filled'


Dress down for the pickin' party. Leave your tie, grab your boots -- and don't forget your guitar.

Then head over to the Jaycee's building at Kinder Park, where dozens of bluegrass and country musicians turn out once a month for Maynard's Party.

Maynard Huddleston, 65, held the first free Pickin' and Grinin' in December. Seven county residents showed up. In a month, the group doubled. By yesterday, news had spread to bring nearly 50 folks and their instruments for a long afternoon of good times and good music.

"We needed a place we could play other than some old smoky bar room," says Mr. Huddleston, hefting his guitar. "Apparently there was a hole wanting to be filled by somebody."

Ladies in white lace blouses tapped their feet to the rhythm of "Rollin' in my Sweet Baby's Arms." A Washington judge awed the crowd with his expertise on the fiddle. Farmers wearing Liberty overalls and red plaid shirts chatted with younger fellows with real snakeskin cowboy boots.

"Howdy, how you doin'?" they said. "Howdy!"

Lawyers and police officers and plenty of country boys made the room sizzle to "Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes."

"Oh, my, he plays the harmonica, too!" whispered Elsie Crofoot of Glen Burnie, putting hand to heart as she admired one of the musicians.

There were banjos, bass fiddles, mandolins, violins, Autoharps, harmonicas, dobros and guitars.

Gerry Grega, visiting with relatives from Virginia, couldn't stay still when the fellows started singing "They call it that good old mountain dew . . ." and started swinging with the beat. "Fill up my jug with that good old mountain dew!" she belted out happily.

Groups broke off upstairs and down, and the Jaycees' building barely had room for one more person.

"It's a good mix of people," said Mr. Huddleston. "We didn't want it for just bands. We want a place everybody who wants to can play."

The group passes a hat to buy soft drinks, but beer is discouraged because Maynard's meets on county park property.

But despite Mr. Huddleston's hopes for a smokeless environment, spare rooms were soon littered with empty cigarette packs.

But nobody really minded. Said Billy Moore, 31, stationed with the U.S. Navy in Annapolis: "I was brought up on bluegrass, and whenever I'm in a new place, I find the people who are into it. They're always real friendly -- like this."

Mr. Moore plays mandolin and guitar and soon had a spot within the circle of musicians.

Yesterday's guests had come at 2 p.m. and would stay until the afternoon was gone and everybody was tired, said one fiddler. Last month, Mr. Huddleston had to leave at 6 p.m., but dozens of people stuck around, hating to see the party end.

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