Grandpa’s Fiddle

I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was eleven years old. I immediately fell in love with the strings and tuners, and inevitably snapped the top E string on the first day. So, I learned to play a five string guitar! A couple of years later I upgraded to a – not much better – beginner guitar, but it had all the strings and I felt complete when playing it.

My Mother’s Dad, my Grandfather Maloney, played the fiddle. I loved the old time tunes and did my best to find the chords to play along with him. Over many years, and many family gatherings, I got pretty intimate with those songs and my ear got much better at finding the key and chord changes. 

When Grandpa moved into a retirement home, many of his possessions were carefully divvied up, and I asked my mom to offer my name when it came to his prized violin. He held onto it in the retirement home until he passed in 2000. I’ve been it’s caretaker ever since, picking it up to play once in a blue moon, not progressing and afraid of the huge commitment it would take to learn to play this difficult instrument well at this stage of my game. 

Then there was a global pandemic. There was time. Rosen met the bow again and tuning pegs twisted strings to pitch. I don’t know that I’ll ever have the talent to play outside my home, but I’ve made tremendous progress over the past months. I can make ‘Red Haired Boy’ and ‘Girl I Left Behind’ sound pretty good! 

That fiddle resonated in my Grandfather’s hands. In my world, he is smilin’ with pride that some of his favorite tunes live on though his Granddaughter all these years later. Thank you, Grandpa. I’m honoured to carry the legacy.