All summer, the dark clouds of cancer have been hanging over the family and friends of Tim Bennett. This week, we had a bit of a break in those clouds – and thanks to the enormous and often surprising power of connectivity, we were able to celebrate with Tim.

Tim, who has been fighting tumors for a couple of months now, is a connector of sorts himself. He’s one of those rare folks who brings together people of all ages and backgrounds and turns them into instant friends. Tim’s year has long revolved around the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, like thousands of others who love bluegrass and other handmade roots music. They come from across the country and around the world to camp elbow-to-fiddle bow for a week just for the privilege of playing and hearing acoustic music.

Tim on Skype
Tim on Skype

Pickin’ and Campin’

The festival is loosely organized around self-aggregating camps with colorful names such as the Neon Guitar (my camp) and Carp Camp. For years Bennett Camp has been one of the best-known for consistently high-quality jams. All the best pickers at Winfield make it to Bennett Camp at some point during the week.

Folks were heartbroken that Tim wouldn’t be there to participate in and lead those jams this year. So there were a lot of guit-pickin’ grins when Tim’s niece brought out a laptop with Tim connected via Skype. They quickly circled ’round the computer and belted out a couple of Tim’s favorites.

By the way, Tim and his family got some great news this week – he’s responding extremely well to treatment. We know he’s not out of the woods yet, but we hope the power of positive thinking and our little show of support helped speed his recovery. We know it made all of us feel pretty darn good.