I’ve been hearing a great deal about Stan Lee’s passing this week. It really is a shame. He was a really interesting and entertaining guy. I’ve never been much into comic books or super heroes, but even I know who he was.
I have to say, though, that I was even more saddened to hear that Roy Clark passed away yesterday. I’d wager that there are more people of my generation who know who Stan Lee was than know who Roy Clark was. I, however, am one of the exceptions to the rule. While other kids were reading comics, I was listening to country music.
You see, when I was just a wee little thing (we won’t get into just how many years ago that was), I heard Roy Clark* play the fiddle**. I’ll never forget it, because that one moment affected my entire life. Yes, really. You see, I play the fiddle now because of that moment. I heard him play and knew that’s what I wanted to do. That was it. I was going to do that thing, and I was going to do that thing for the rest of my life.
Let’s think about the enormity of that moment. A little bitty kid, in a little bitty town, on the Arizona/Mexico border heard some guy play an instrument that wasn’t even the one he was most well known for, and it changed the course of her entire life. How many people can say that they’ve had that kind of an effect on anybody, let alone someone they’ve never even met?
My grandfather got me my first fiddle. I still have it. In fact, The Wee Little Miss has been forbidden from ever disposing of it after I’m gone. I don’t care what she does with any of my other belongings, but the little fiddle must remain. Looking at it now, I can’t believe how small it is. When I was first learning, it felt so big.
Bless my parents. They have always been so very encouraging. They spent a ton of time, effort, and money on lessons, gas, lodging, rosin, nice bows… the list goes on and on. And really, I never realized just how horrible the fiddle sounds when someone’s learning to play, until I started teaching. Wow. My parents are saints. Like, for real. It isn’t as though I was some kind of virtuoso who automatically picked up the instrument and played like a pro. I definitely made my share of noise that I’m certain sounded like a dying cow — and it’s not exactly a quiet instrument, either. I am so appreciative that they did all that, and put up with so much.
I still play to this day. As a matter of fact, it is how I pay my bills; it is how I have met many of the people who are most important in my life; it is even how I met The Hubbster.
So, yeah. Roy Clark. Rest in peace, man. I wish I’d gotten to meet you, but even though I didn’t, you and your talent made a big difference in my life.
* When I was little, I felt the need to clarify that he was not Roy, “king of the cowboys” (Roy Rogers). He was the OTHER Roy. I think I was just a weird kid. Not much has changed on that front.
** I don’t play violin. I play fiddle. Never was in orchestra, can’t read music. I play bluegrass, Celtic, country, blues, etc., but not violin — that is for classical music. We like to joke that the difference between a fiddle and a violin is that a violin has strings, whereas a fiddle has strangs.