By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Sweet and Dill Pickles were the musical guests for the very first 39ers Club meeting in October, after the summer break.
“I think you’ve already figured out who’s Dill and who’s Sweet,” said Troy Pickles, the lead bass singer who hits notes so low it rattles the floorboards in the basement. The other half of the singing duo is his daughter, Jessica Ratliff, who harmonizes with a strong, ringing alto.
Ratliff, who also performs with the Southern gospel trio Lifesong (with Bryant Thigpen and Ethan Brooks) said learning to sing alto against such a strong bass voice was “a challenge….but I have always loved harmonizing.”
Together, the father-daughter team made sweet Southern gospel music at the Oct. 18 meeting. Their performance brought in sounds of bluegrass, country and folk, including “Pray for the Fish,” a fun number about being baptized in a creek, an up-tempo version of Johnny Cash’s “Aint No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down)” and the praise anthem “Glory to God in the Highest.”
The 39ers were tapping their feet and clapping their hands to the music before it was over.
Rev. John Hopwood, Pastor of Grace Presbyterian, traded a couple of jokes with Pickles, asking at one point, “who was the creative genius who came up with the name Sweet and Dill Pickles?”
It turned out it was Hopwood himself who had suggested the name, but “I was trying to be humble about it and get you to say it,” he laughed.
“Nice try, John,” said someone in the audience, to a round of laughter.
The 39ers Club gets together the third Tuesday of every other month at noon in the fellowship hall of Grace Presbyterian Church to enjoy good food and great music. There are no dues or fees of any kind, and anyone who is “39 years of age until proven otherwise” as the late Jack Benny put it, is welcome to join in the fun. The lunch is covered dish potluck, and at Tuesday’s meeting, pieces of pink and white frosted cake from Rachel Reichmann’s 100th birthday party showed up on the dessert table.
The 39ers next meeting is Dec. 20, “Same time, same station!” said Hopwood. “Bring a pal, or bring an enemy!”
“Bring an inlaw, bring an outlaw!” said another.
In keeping with the culinary theme, the musical guest scheduled for the December meeting is a group known as Oil and Vinegar.