Where a blue moon shines day and night

When our son, daughter-in-law and their five children moved in with us for a temporary stay, they brought five guitars, four banjos, two mandolins and a dulcimer along with them.

And five violins, although that’s not what they call them.

In their world – the world of folk music and bluegrass where fingers and bows dance like fireflies in the night air—a violin is called a fiddle.

Look at the 11-year-old who plays fiddle, call it a violin, and she will look like she has no idea what you mean. Then she may pick it up, play a few lively bars that sound like a steam train barreling down railroad tracks and sweetly say, “Did you mean the fiddle?”

There are few greater gifts than music in the home. I should qualify that as we once had a beginning violinist and two budding percussionists under our roof. What I meant to say is music that doesn’t hurt your ears or stand your hair on end is a gift in the home. Of course, every gift is a work in progress.

Round a corner at our place today and you may happen upon a kid having an online music lesson. Step out the backdoor late afternoon and their momma may be on a small bench plucking a tune on a banjo.

Our grandson is sitting on the front porch early one morning when I step outside and sit down in a chair. He strums a little of this and a little of that, looks at me and says, “What would you like to hear, Grandma?”

He says it with the confidence of a seasoned professional packing a vast repertoire in his fingertips, though he’s only been playing for two years. Confidence may exceed talent at present, but there’s no saying talent won’t win the race.

I mention a beautiful but sad song I’d heard him play a few days ago about a blue moon and a broken heart.

“Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that’s gone and proved untrue”

He plays and sings with feeling even though he is only 9 and is far more interested in the dried snakeskin he found at the creek than a sweetheart who has proved untrue.

“Blue moon of Kentucky keep on shining
Shine on the one that’s gone and left me blue”

There’s a high note at the end of that line. He goes for it and comes real close. An unbridled lunge for a grand finish, at any age, is a thing of beauty.

The boy singing about heartbreak has dirt under his fingernails, 37 bug bites on his legs and sand between his toes. Somehow it all mixes together and sweetens the sound.

They are leaving soon. We will miss the chaos and laughter, squabbling and curiosity that makes us feel our age, as well as the music that crosses the barriers of time and distance, age and youth, plucking the strings of the human heart.

Share This: