Sweet foot stomping, banjo twangin’ bluegrass. On our a way to our yearly dose of ear nectar the omens started early as we ran across a couple of dead Armadillos, or as my Cousin says, “Opossums in the half shell,” on the way there. The thing about fiddlers is I don’t like to know who is coming ahead of time. I like the anticipation of not knowing, but unfortunately more often than not I’m disappointed by a few notable no shows. This year was the worst in history. Only one Chandler made it — usually there is an entire clan. Joey Long was absent, though Joe and I did play Like a Hurricane in his honor. And to boot, Joe informed us that he got engaged (Congratulations Joe!) and for some inexplicable reason set his honeymoon for Fiddlers the following year.
In spite of those no shows, there were a lot of people who came, and even some first timers (David’s bio Dad). Joe entered the Dulcimer competition, but unfortunately had a stumble that kept him from placing. We had a good time hanging out and listening to the various performances. Ali and I had the brilliant idea to bring wine in this year. Athens used to be in a dry county, but recently went wet. Of course no one bothered to tell us, so we bought wine in Anniston and brought it with us. We went ghetto and bought some bottled water so that we could use the bottles to bring the wine into the event. All in all it worked out well — someone suggested using a grape drink bottle next time to really allay suspicion.
On Saturday Joe and I jammed behind “the house” and this year my nephew Cameron joined us on the harmonica. He had one in the key of “C” and so Joe and I just played songs to match. Joe had a Beatles fake book and we hacked our way through quite a few of their tunes. Jamming is always a blast, and as a bonus I have been playing enough lately that my fingers didn’t even hurt.
In recent years, we have been bailing on the event in the late afternoon on Saturday and driving to Decatur for dinner. This year since Athens was no longer dry; we decided to stay there for dinner and then head back over to the competition for the fiddle off where the Fiddle King is crowned. This was actually my first time to stay through to the end on Saturday, and I got to say I really like how that worked out. Of course, whether it is the end of dinner or the end of the competition it doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. Fiddler’s is always bitter sweet, it doesn’t matter who comes or doesn’t, we just don’t get enough time together.
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