In the life of an establishment, there are many comings and goings. A business begins, builds it’s base, enjoys fruition and begins an empire, or falls into decline and comes to an end, or simply (and perhaps more gloriously) becomes an intrinsic part of the story of a town, city or region. Lives intertwine, relationships begin and end, all within the framework of a place with a name. There is only one constant we can truly depend on (except apparently the speed of light) and that is change. If you’ll bear with my philosophizing for a moment, I am going somewhere with this.

A place may change, but the things that truly make it special, that set it apart, are the things that transcend the name, the ownership and the business plan. The Calapooia Brewpub is one of those rare places. There are some things you simply can’t orchestrate, hire or contract. When Mark Martin and Laura Bringelson bought what was once known as The Oregon Trader Brewing Company, they inherited a people, a soul, that they were smart enough to nurture, hold and appreciate. Throughout a great change, there remained, paradoxically, a constant in the life that existed there, a spark that they gently, and carefully blew into a warm, embracing flame.

At the heart of this there is a band, THE WILD HOG IN THE WOODS which has been a part of this establishment since the early days of  The Oregon Trader. When it was just a brewery and a large tap room, food consisted of frozen treats warmed in a toaster oven or fryolator and the entire business could be run by one person. When WILD HOG enters the room and begins playing, it’s like you sat down in your favorite chair wrapped in an afghan knitted by your grandma. They’ve been playing there so long it feels as if it’s the space that’s loving them as much as vice-versa. If all this feels “too thick,” please forgive. Just recently, WILD HOG IN THE WOODS, lost a part of itself, and so did the ‘Pooia. And I’m sentimental (just in case you hadn’t figured that out). Last Saturday, the world said goodbye to Ted Tom, a guitar-player, maker, fixer, and owner of Fingerboard Extension, a music store in Corvallis. Ted loved music with every fiber of his being and that was obvious whenever you heard him and the other three HOGS play together. Ted loved, and was loved by that space and there is now a hole there.

It’s just another one of those events that causes me to realize how much I take for granted every day. There is nothing more important than the people who touch our lives, and there are more people touching our lives than any of us truly realize. You never know who or what’s important to you, until it’s gone. Cliche, but true. And I find myself missing a man I barely new, on behalf of the pub with which I am so intimate. Illustrating that their are more strings tying us all together than we can ever count. So, need I say it? Appreciate everyone, the ones you know and the ones you don’t. Your life is shaped and effected by them all.

I’m going to let an email sent to me by Ted’s fellow HOG John Donaghue say the rest and would recommend you click on this link.

Our dear friend and band-mate, Ted Tom

passed on last Saturday and will remain missed
by all.  Ted was a brave and true man with a strong
and loving family, and so many supportive friends…
……….one heck of a fine and fun musician, too.
It’s time to put on a Hawaiian shirt, play some music
and give Ted and his family some warm thoughts.
There will be a Tribute to Ted on Sunday, June 6th
at the Adair Clubhouse just North of Corvallis
from 2:00 to 6:00.  It would be great to see you there.
Bring your instruments and stories, there will be an
exposé of Ted’s varied musical preoccupations and
time for jamming and reconnecting with friends.
I have copied and linked Ted’s obituary that just appeared
in the Gazette times.  What a great guy………
Have a look at the site & leave a note.
………………………..With a little more Amore,  John D…………………………….

Teddy B. Tom             Feb. 20, 1948 – May 15, 2010

Ted Tom was the only child of Beryl Othiel Tom and Lavelle “Teddy” Marguerite Larson Tom. He was born in Corvallis, and was raised in Alsea until he was 14. When he was 13, Ted borrowed his grandmother’s guitar and began playing. When he moved to Corvallis, Ted met Kyle Crocker, whose father had a private library, and was introduced to a larger world of books. Ted would read such exciting titles as “Complete Tube Amp Repair” and “Martin Guitars” cover to cover in one sitting.

In 1966, he graduated from Corvallis High School, and went on to earn a master of science in mathematics from Portland State University in 1972. Working as a teacher’s assistant, he earned extra money, and began acquiring and trading musical instruments.

Ted became interested in music in the folk-boom years of the early 1960s, particularly folk and surf music, but he had wide-ranging music tastes. Ted believed certain people were born to be musicians; to play was a compulsion. Music was his spirituality.

He played electric, acoustic and resonator guitars; mandolin; tenor, plectrum and five-string banjos; autoharp; and bass. He could skillfully repair all of them. A natural repairman and inveterate horse trader, Ted opened the Fingerboard Extension in 1978 as a small shop at the side of his house. He moved the store to Third Street in 1983, and to its present location on Second Street in 1995.

Over the years, he played in many bands: Muskrat Ramblers, Tom and Theresa and Friends, Bum’s Rush, Mugwort Revellers, Dave Masonhall Band, Second Crass Act, Arful Dogs, Nobody’s Fault, the Northwest Banjo Band, and, for the past 12 years, he was in Wild Hog in the Woods.

Ted married Keta Daetz of Corvallis in 1976. After opening the store, they had four daughters: Vega, Koa, Tiana and Kyla. Ted’s daughters; wife; mother-in-law, Helen van Houten; long-time friend, Leland Paul Armstrong; and band mates Hershel Olmsted, John Donoghue and John Simonds, were with him when he died of maxillary sinus cancer on May 15. He was 62 years old.

A tribute music party, backed by Wild Hog in the Woods and open to Ted’s friends and acquaintances, will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. June 6 at the Adair Clubhouse. Please e-mail for inquiries, and don’t forget your instruments! Any donations can be made to Compassion and Choices of Oregon or Benton Hospice Service.

Gazette timesSaturday June 22, 2010