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My theme for the A to Z Challenge is Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura Ingalls Wilder was the author of the Little House books and there was a television series very loosely based on the books. I began reading the books when I was eleven years old (which even I have a hard time believing is over 40 years ago!). If you would like to read about my feelings about Laura, visit this site. I have also listed helpful sites and blogs in my sidebar if you would like to learn more.

So sorry for being a day late. I promise I will catch up today!

F is for Fiddle.

My favorite fiddle passage which takes place after the long, hard winter when Pa’s fingers, stiff from the cold and constantly twisting enough hay to keep warm, could not play his fiddle:

Pa stretched his arms above his head. he opened and closed his hands and stretched his fingers wide, then ran them through his hair till it all stood on end.

“I believe this warm weather has taken the stiffness out of my fingers,” he said. “If you will bring me the fiddle, Laura, I’ll see what I can do.”

Laura brought the fiddle-box and stood close by while Pa lifted the fiddle out of its nest. He thumbed the strings and tightened the keys as he listened. The he rosined the bow and drew it across the strings.

A few clear, true notes softly sounded. The lump in Laura’s throat almost choked her.
                                                   –The Long Winter, Chapter 33: Christmas in May
                                                     by Laura Ingalls Wilder

If you know anything about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books, then you’ll know that Pa’s fiddle, the music it made, and music in general played a huge role in Laura’s life. So much so that it became a huge part of the books. After I read the original series (this was in the early ’70s), I looked for more. I needed to know more!
And one day I found this:

This is my own hardcover copy! I paid $5.95 for it and
I can remember just going through its pages over and over
trying to sing the songs in my head.
(in my head because I can’t carry a tune to save my life!)

I began taking guitar lessons with the lofty goal of some day being able to play the songs in the songbook. I wasn’t at it very long when I had to give up my lessons. I tried to keep up on my own, but soon gave up. Even a few years ago I bought another guitar and…you guessed it. Nothing. Now with arthritis in my hands, I have pretty much given up all hope. Pffft…years wasted when I could have played.

If you have a few minutes, please watch this video. It explains a wonderful project…

Jim and I were lucky enough to be there at the Loveless Theater. In Nashville. For the taping of this PBS special! If you have another couple of minutes I wrote about it for Beyond Little House. Go here if you’d like to read about my experience.

Jim took this picture while we were waiting for it all to begin. I’m in there.
See all those empty chairs to the left? We were in the first row of that section.
Right by the fiddler.

Here’s the official preview (if you have a few more minutes):

Look for this on your local PBS station during the June pledge drive. If you want to make sure that it will be shown locally, contact your PBS. I did.

For more information:

Pa’s Fiddle Project

Hope you had a wonderful F (as in fiddle)-day!

 **Join me and many other Laura fans at LauraPalooza 2012 (the
second-ever Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference), which will be held July
12-14, 2012, in Mankato, Minnesota. For more information visit Beyond Little House and look for the heading “LauraPalooza 2012”. The pull down menu will have all of the information that you are looking for!**


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