Tuesday, February 12, 2013

~~~~a dulcimer story~~~

I try very hard not to accumulate "stuff". Over the years I've gotten rid of collections of things I've had (Nativity Sets, books, etc) because I do believe that having "enough" should be enough... When new (to us, we rarely buy anything brand new) things come into our home... whether it's clothing, books, or even furniture, a like number of similar things go out.

So when my brother Loren gave me a mandolin a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to clear out the collection of musical instruments that had been piling up. I have a hard time saying no to a good instrument, discarded at a thrift store... I imagine the music still left in it and think it needs a good home. (mine...)

So, I posted a listing on our homeschool group message board to sell a keyboard I bought for R (but she never really took to), a mountain dulcimer I bought used a few years ago, and the "extra" uke (M decided he didn't want to play after all). All was good until I got a reply to my post from a HS group member, saying she would like to buy the dulcimer.

Knowing it might be on it's way out the door caused a moment of panic... and the thought of "But I can't let it go!".

As I thought about my dulcimer and my history with dulcimers I decided my reaction made sense, and I would have to (apologetically) let the person who is interested in buying it know that I've changed my mind...

Just for fun, here's my dulcimer story...

Joe and I started going out while I was still in high school, it was the mid-70's then (yes, I'm dating myself!) and the world was still pretty wrapped up in peace, love and grooviness. Joe and I were definitely hippie-wannabes. His hair was pony-tail long, and mine hung down to my hips, and we both had some pretty cool bellbottoms in the closet...

We got married just out of high school (I was still in my teens...) and settled into being grownups.

One weekend we decided to head to downtown Denver for a cool thing they were doing... the Capitol Hill People's Fair. The fair had been around for 5-6 years by that time and was busy, and vibrant, and we spent a beautiful summer afternoon walking around looking at all the stands of handcrafted goods, clothes, and food. At one stand I bought Joe a heavy white button-down shirt (almost a canvas kind of fabric) with beautiful flowers embroidered  here and there on the crisp white background. (We kept that shirt forever, I think one of our grown kids has it now...) At another shop he saw me playing with the mountain dulcimers and bought a kit to make me one.

After weeks of work the dulcimer was done and stained a lovely dark walnut color. I bought a book and played a little here and there...

And then I had a baby and by the time she was up and walking, the dulcimer had migrated to the closet.

I still wanted to play... I loved the sweet dulcimer sound.



But life was busy, and then I had another baby...

And another baby...

And adopted a son...

And adopted another daughter...

And by then I was pushing middle age, and the dulcimer Joe made me had been loved, and played with, by all five kids... and was definitely worse for the wear.



And by then I never even thought of playing a dulcimer... (although I never considered for even a moment getting rid of the one Joe made me)

One day a few years ago, while wandering around the thrift store, I saw a simple, older, mountain dulcimer on the counter. I was immediately drawn to it... I picked it up checked it for cracks or warping, and gave the strings a little strum.

That's all it took, I was sold. (I even blogged about it here.)

I taught myself (again) to play and have spent many lovely hours picking out soft sweet ballads, and enjoying the rhythms of the old time dance tunes.

And it makes me think of when Joe and I were still teenagers, and he bought me a kit and made me an instrument...

No, this dulcimer isn't the one he made, but it's still not going anywhere...



I'm off now to change the "for sale" listing on our homeschool group message board, and offer apologies to the mom who was hoping to buy my dulcimer...

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