Sat. Nov 28th, 2020

BY VICKEY STAMPS 2008

The Fiddler

 
The old man rosined up his bow, cradled his violin across, and over
his heart, put it under his chin and stepped down as gently as he
could on his arthritic legs, grateful there were only a few steps to
the sidewalk. The home was older than he was, and he thought
perhaps that was enough to say about it.
 
It was the deep dusk just after sunset and before the dark of true night. 
He had finished up a brief performance with a local blue grass music band, replacing an ill member. It didn’t matter a great deal to him what music
rose from his touch, be it blue grass, or a symphony.  It mattered  only
in the notes that came forward flowing up into the air around him and covering him with the sounds.
 
Emma, his beloved late wife, used to sit quietly in their home as he
would play one tune after another, standing before the hearth place,
whether a fire burned within, or not. It didn’t seem like it had already
been five years since the Lord had lifted her up from her sick bed
and carried her away. She had only had a lung infection. Now he
only saw her in his mind. He smiled to himself, thinking he would
play for her at their favorite place to visit. The park was just a
few blocks away.
 
A willow tree with its leaf filled limbs hung down, clothed in green
finery that nearly touched the ground. Other trees kept it company
in the old park, but seemed not to make such a statement as the
willow did.
 
By the sidewalk fronting the street, sat the old bench with its rod
iron arms and back. Its aged and once splintered wooden seat
worn thin and smooth by those who stopped to rest and ponder,
while sitting on its surface. He and his wife Emma, had had their
share of conversations while there. It was almost always about
their grown up family and the world in general. He could almost
see her gentle smile, and the twinkle in her eyes, as they shared
a bit of humor between themselves.
 
Now he nestled the violin beneath his chin, closing his eyes and
waiting for the inspiration to come. It would not be long. He knew
that to be a true thing. Unknown to him, a young couple watched
him in the shadows, from beneath the leaves of the willow tree.
They had come to snuggle there and talk of their caring for one
another. Their love was a thing only recently discovered.
Her head rested on his shoulder. His arms were around her in
a gentle expression of a new and young love. They sat there in
silence waiting for the performance to begin.
 
Soon tender, gentle, softly sad notes rose up, following one, and
then another, the bow bending itself to make the music intended.
Had the willow tree been able at that time to truly weep, it would
surely have done so.
 
Even insects inside the trees bark peeked out to see what was
going on. A ground squirrel raised its head above its burrow fully
 intending to chastise the human for disrupting its rest, but instead,
sank back down upon the grass and let the notes soothe it as well.
The young woman’s tears began to pour forth, for surely the old
man was playing a love song for them. Her tears wet her sweet-
hearts shirt upon which she had leaned her head. He gathered
her closer in care, and reassurance, as the love song continued.
It made him think of the world and what he could do to become a
better part of it. Perhaps tomorrow he would participate in more
good will to his fellowman. He would think of the old mans
music and perhaps be more caring. 
 
The fiddlers chest had begun to ache and he thought perhaps he
would stop now, instead of playing another song and maybe rest
for awhile on the old bench. Funny how much more than in all his
previous visits, had his Emma’s presence been felt. She seemed
to sit quietly in the center of the bench, just where she had sat in
real life. It was as if she wished him to come there and take her
hand. He thought perhaps he would do that, and he did. 
 
The young couple quietly left without being detected from their
cover under the old tree. The insects hid again behind the bark
and the ground squirrel returned to tell his family about the
‘concert in the park’ that he had attended.
 
Meanwhile, Emma leaned her gray head against her husbands
shoulder and reached for his hand. The patrolman would find the
old man there later, and wonder why he had passed away alone
and perhaps unloved. He would not know the Creator had sent
Emma to bring him home.
 
The old fiddle would find a new home, as would the bow. It would
surely bring with it a sense of love, for that was all it had known
in its Fiddle life.
 
LIFE WAS GOOD

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