Fiddle Sisters Hit The Nursing Home Circuit

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Okay. So I had planned to write this awesome blog about learning to play by ear to complement the one Casey wrote. I was planning to write about “Sally Goodwin” since I have several students—both mail order and “live”—working on that particular piece. I pictured a leisurely morning in which I would drink hot tea with sugar, read my current book (a biography of Ayn Rand), and write my blog in a timely fashion.

Instead I left my boudoir about 8:30 a.m. to the heinous sound of I didn’t know what—it sounded like a loud grinding of metal on metal coming from our basement. Afraid that something was fixing to explode, I ventured down the stairs to be met with the sight of water all over the downstairs floor, fans going, rugs rolled back, a garden hose leading to the outside, and Red cutting through the copper pipe going to our water heater which had decided to disgorge its contents all over the linoleum.

Red had encountered this same sight—sans fans and water hose—at 5:30 this morning when he got up. He was kind enough not to wake me.

So we spent the morning dealing with that. A morning I had planned to spend practicing my fiddle, since the Fiddle Sisters were spreading Christmas cheer at a series of four nursing homes that afternoon. Fiddle Sister Patty, who lives nearby and is young and strong, was kind enough to come over to help Red load the now-drained water heater (still under warrenty) into the van for transport to Lowe’s. She said I was welcome to come shower at her house and we could ride together to Fiddle Sisters Charlotte’s where we were gathering at 1 p.m.

At 11:30 I was still mopping. I finally gave it up and headed over to Patty’s house to shower and get ready for the gig. I was absolutely filthy from crawling around on a dirty, water-soaked floor. Of course, I had to take a change of clothes, a cosmetics bag, a hair dryer, a jar of organic peanut butter and some crackers since I didn’t have time to eat lunch, and my fiddle.

I showered, changed, and just had time to spread peanut butter on bread and take it with me (eschewing the crackers). Patty threw in a box of Triscuits for her lunch although I didn’t see her eat any. I finished my sandwich on the road. Patty was driving. “This is why I don’t play out much anymore,” I said to Patty. “It’s just too much. I loved it when I was younger but now I just don’t have the energy. And what if you didn’t like the band members you were playing with? What if you all were fighting? There is so little room for the music. The Fiddle Sisters are the only group I would consider expending this much energy for right now.” (Did I mention it was RAINING? And COLD?)

Luckily, the rest of the day went fabulously. It stopped raining, the sun came out, and we shucked coats, hats, and scarves right and left. We all looked great in our red Christmas attire. The folks we played for loved us and we felt like we were bringing a little joy into their lives. And I had brought a whole bag of Hershey’s Kisses (“Silver Bells” as Mama calls them) to keep up our energy. We even managed to work in a visit to Starbucks in between venues.

I will have to say that in the middle of our second performance my cell phone started vibrating in my pocket. I was deep into “Jingle Bells” so I didn’t take the call. Later I looked at it. It was a text message from Logan. It said, “Sorry to bother you but...I HATE SALLY GOODIN’.” (Logan’s mother is Fiddle Sister Robyn.)

I sent him back a text saying, “She hates U 2. Hang N.”

I didn’t hear back so I hope he kept practicing.

Also at that same nursing home, one of the residents said he had a cousin who had won several national fiddle contests. Naturally, I was skeptical but I asked who that was and he said "Buck Ryan.” Well, Buck, who played with Don Reno for years, is from around here (Mt. Jackson) and he was truly  a great fiddle player, so we talked about him for a little while and that was kind of neat.

We finished up our four gigs at a little after 5 p.m., and headed to Olive Garden for some rest, relaxation, and red wine. It was wonderful. We are truly a compatible bunch of women.

In case you are interested, the tunes we were playing were (not in this order):

Silent Night

Joy to the World

O Come All Ye Faithful

Jingle Bells

Silver Bells (City Sidewalks)

Away in a Manger

Little Drummer Girl

Good King Wenceslas

What Child Is This (in D minor!)

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

And a great big thanks to the Fiddle Sisters: Charlotte, Patty, Robyn, Sandy, and Susie. We are FABULOUS!

One thought on “Fiddle Sisters Hit The Nursing Home Circuit

  1. Martin Bacon

    This is a wonderful story. Thanks for it. And I am not at all surprised that you got back around to Sally Goodin in your story. I remain constantly amazed at how much music you can make with relatively short fiddle tunes. I don’t like pie, I do like puddin, I wish I could play Sally Goodin.


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