Sunday, July 16, 2006


I couldn't get my photos to line up with my text -- you may have to do some piecing to put them together.

Well. My mother who says she's a wash-up won second place. And a lot of applause, because she's well-known in the area, the only female senior-age competitor -- they don't divide the contests into gender groups but they do have age groups. Anyway, she's the only old gal, and I'm sure people who follow the contests wonder if she'll be playing (or even if she's still living) because when the MC announced that she'd be next a murmur rippled through the audience.

Our son Jon, who also plays country fiddle, dressed 3-yr-old Abbie, who LOVES fiddle music, in her pretty cowgirl dress and braids and ribbons, and brought her fiddle (it's real, a 1/16-size real violin) so she could feel like she was part of the action even though she wasn't playing onstage. Abbie can't play it... we're working on just learning to hold it and draw the bow across the strings. She saw all the fiddlers warming up before the show and wanted to get hers out, too. This was what he had hoped.... that she'd want to be part of the action. I've seen kids as young as 4 in the junior division; at this particular contest, the youngest was a boy about 6. He was the one of two contestants in the sub-teen group; the other was a girl of 11 who played your socks off, a very accomplished country fiddler who had started when she was 3 with a fiddle just like Abbie's.

Here's Abbie fiddling with her great-grandma.

And, just for perspective, here's Abbie's dad holding her violin.

Here's my mom getting ready to play....

Here's Mom looking surprised to learn she'd won second place.

In case you don't know what's involved in competitive country fiddlin', (most "outsiders" don't), the judging criteria are:

Old-tyme tunes, sound, and quality
Intonation (playing in tune, on key)
Rhythm and timing (keeping the beat)
Clarity (You can hear the tune over the flourishes, tune notes not lost in the shuffle)

Each one gets up to 10 points. No points for stage presence, audience response, presentation, or anything like that. Strictly musical criteria. But it's still awfully subjective -- nothing like the time clock that we race against.

While the judges are adding up the scores, all the fiddlers together do a "round-up" or "round-robin," all playing the same tune togethere and standing one at a time at the mike. Abbie had been listening avidly to all the contestants all night, and each time one finished, she applauded, yelled "Yaaayyyy!" and then pointed to herself, said, "Me?" and pointed to the stage. We'd ask her, "Do you want to play the fiddle on the stage?" She'd bob her head happily, say, "Me!" and point again to the stage. So when the round-up started, Jon took her up there, gave her her fiddle, and said, "Go on, go play with all the fiddlers." And she actually walked out onto the stage and stood there with them, sawing away on her fiddle. In this first picture she looks a little dubious, or like she's concentrating hard. She looks so tiny with all those grown-ups. I didn't have my wide-angle lens, so you can't see there are a couple dozen adults and teens on the stage. This kid has NO FEAR. This kid has GUTS. Sometimes she doesn't want to do something, but it's not because she's afraid, it's because she doesn't want to. And she wanted to play her violin on stage like all the other fiddlers. She'd been talking about it all night. And when she got the go-ahead, she trotted out there and did it. What a stitch!

Then she saw me with the camera, and marched right over to ham it up for a picture.

This is one cute kid, and it's not just because I'm her grandmother. I know a cute kid when I see one. You gotta overlook my bragging...

Today's training: 10-mile run, a slow one of 2 hours, keeping my HR 126-130. But I finished feeling like I could easily have run a lot more.

Now I'm off to paint trail markers on trees up in the forest.

P.S. Mom's "hardware" was a $150 check. Some contests give trophies, others money, others both. Mom has a whole piano full of trophies, and a bay-window full too. She'd rather have the money :-)


nancytoby said...

So cute!

You'll have to show me how you do Abbie's hair without causing an enormous fight! Catherine is, shall we say, non-cooperative.

bunnygirl said...

Yay, Mom! Second place is awesome? So what does the hardware look like?

Ellie said...

The hardware looks like a check for $150!!! Some contests give trophies (she has a whole piano full and a whole bay-window full), some give money, some give both. She'd rather have the money :-)

nancytoby said...

How is it 1/16 size? I don't understand. It looks more than half as long as the regular one, which would be about 1/2 size....!???? If it were 1/16 size I think it should be about 1 to 2 inches long!!

Rachel said...

Oh, my gosh! So precious!

PuddyRat said...

Hi Ellie! Sorry I haven't been reading your blog. It's not for not wanting to, just not a lot of time (as you might imagine).

1) Training for this IM IS my life. Almost everything else comes 2nd. It's selfish, I know, but that's the way it is for now.

2) Love the "perspective" photo. It really DOES put it into perspective.

3) Congrats to mom on the $$. And how cool is it that she is actually STILL playing at all at her age. I think it's awesome.

4) Good job on your 67 mile ride the other day. I had one (post in progress) that went uphill for TWELVE MILES. No lie. Not stair steps, just 1900 feet up. Not a tough grade, just steady. I, too, saw 4-6 mph for like 2 hours! In 96 degree heat no less. Okay, I need to finish that post. Not sure when I'll get to it. Maybe today.


Vickie said...

Cute. Very cute.

Fe-lady said...

Wow- you have great family! You must be SO proud of your mom and Abbie-you were probably bursting at the seams! Sounds like a very fun time! Thanks for sharing the photos and story!

Kewl Nitrox said...

:D Even after I discount the "grandma" factor, Abbie sure is a cutie! :)

E-Speed said...

LOL sounds like a fun time!