It looked to be a long night. I had agreed to play the fiddle at a harvest dance in the next county. At first I had shilly-shallied about takin' the job. It were a tedious drive over rutted country roads, and instead of ridin' my horse Rusty, I were, perforce, obliged to hire a cheap buckboard from Silverman's livery stable -- a much slower conveyance and a nuisance as well. It seemed I could earn a few much needed dollars by deliverin' a hand carved chair, ordered by a Mr. Riffle, who lived in the county to which I'd be a travelin'. By agreein' to play at old Silverman's daughter's weddin', I had me a free rig for the night. Grumblin', I gave a slap of the reins and a, "giddy ap" to the hired horse, and set upon my way.
Normally, I enjoyed fiddlin'. I had me an old cigar box fiddle, which my daddy had made back in 1875 from a used wooden cigar box he'd found in an alleyway. I got her for Christmas, and promptly named her Bessie. She felt so good in my hands! From the moment I touched her I knowed we was meant to be together. She seemed to say to me, "I am yours!" and I fell completely in love with her.
She were a beauty, and lands sake could my Bessie sing! She could wail like a new born babe, and make the stubbornest foot begin to tap and stomp, until the floorboards of the sturdiest barn was a thumpin' in time to my sweet Bessie's song. She were my pride and joy, and I never passed up an opportunity to show off what she and me could do together. I couldn't figure out why she could wail like she did -- better 'an any fiddle I'd ever heard, but I didn't care none neither. She were mine and that were all that mattered.
Many times, I would play her when we was all alone. I'd go up to the loft of our cabin, hunker down on a old tree stump I'd drug up there, and I'd just play my girl. Sometimes, a feelin' of desolation and malaise would come over me, a feelin' I couldn't understand, but I figured my Bessie had her reasons, so I just kind a flowed with her.
Anways, here we was a bumpin' and a jigglin' over those dad-blasted roads, Mr. Riffle's chair a wobblin' and a bangin' in the back, when we come to the woods. I never did cottin' to this particular patch of woodland. I ain't an imagin'ful man, but on the sunniest of days it were forbiddin'. Dark trees loomed menacin'ly over the road, squelchin' the sun, makin' deep dark patches of dankness: black holes, like some'un had put a red hot poker into the night and left parts that was darker than others, black holes which had burnt away the sky to let in the cold.
Causes Debra Welch Supports