Archive for April, 2011

Change of Plans

So, after having some very dear friends over for supper last night, the storm hit. Our guests left us, but, 10 minutes later we were all in their basement. So, we stared at each other/listened to the storm/played see-saw on 2×8’s (okay, that was only Mr. Lingo and Luke)/talked about anything and everything until 11:15 p.m., or so. Then, it was back to bed for awhile.

This morning, I woke and began thinking about what I was going to teach my fiddle student this afternoon. But, alas, those thoughts were fleeting. When I looked out the window, I saw that our front pasture had a new river running through it. It runs the whole length of the pasture, leaving some “dry” ground on the side of the road, and some “dry” ground between the river and the creek. Needless to say, our nine cows (four of which are young calves) still in this pasture, were on the ground between the river and creek. We hurried out there with a friend, and tried everything we could think of, but everything’s too dangerous. We can’t move those cows out. In order to get them on this side, where we could take them up to high ground, they would have to swim through what Kyle guessed to be 60-80 foot-wide, 2-4 foot-deep rushing waters that are quickly rising. Sadly, they’re stuck in the flood plane.

It might sound strange, but, we’re asking for prayers for our cows. It’s pretty bad only being able to watch as the waters surround them closer and closer.

As it is right now, Daddy’s still out doing a gasoline run for the community, Kyle’s stuck at the Lingos (the road between here and there is more river than road – but, hey, not a bad place to be stuck at!), fiddle lessons have been canceled, Mama’s preparing all our kerosene lamps, and we’re just wondering what’s going to happen next.

I think I may safely speak for all of Coble when I say we would all appreciate your prayers. We’re all thankful for the safety that we’ve experienced thus far, but the rain’s not over yet.



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I’ve always had this thing about not finishing projects that I start. However, I hope I’m improving in that area. As it is, today I completed my Easter dress. I’ve been designing it and thinking about it for weeks, at least. Finally, though, the final designing sketch looked exactly like a pattern I own. The only change I would have to make would be to put sleeves on it, as it was a pattern for a jumper. Hurrah! This meant that I didn’t even have to draw out my own pattern. Plus, this store-bought pattern was one that I’d made once already, and loved the way it went together, the speed of the project, and the final product.

Thus, I fetched my pattern and set to work. I cut it out two days ago, worked on it yesterday as I had time, and finished it up today. The tricky part was working with whatever kind of fabric this is. I got it at Sir’s Fabrics, so there’s no telling what it might be. But, it’s… crinkly?… and, thus, “stretchy” in one direction. Thankfully, the fabric hides how awful some of the… 12?… darts look. I might would go back and fix them, but, I’m fairly sure that would make it worse.

This project gave me plenty of time to listen to some Michael Buble music, as well as 3 songs that Appalachian Trail recorded in ’86. I’m learning them as my much-needed fast tunes. If you’ve heard Missionary Ridge much, you’ve probably noticed that almost all my vocals are slow tunes. Sad, Romantic, Bitter, Reminescent – yup. Those pretty well sum up my tunes. And when I say almost all, I mean, literally, all but one. I sing “Workin’ on a Building”, which can really get some good speed on it. But, other than that one, my most common tunes are: “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Okay, this one’s half and half. It gets fast on the end.); “Slippers with Wings” (tear-jerker for some); “Crazy”; “Blue Water Holler”; “Poor Wayfaring Stranger”; “Savior, Lord, and Guide”; “Kentucky Waltz”; “Those Memories” (this one’s high-energy, but fairly low speed).

So, I’m eagerly learning 3 new songs, all of which are pretty peppy. One of them even fits in the whole “blue” theme. 😉 It’s called “How Blue”, so, I’ve been joking with the others how it will fit right along with “Blue Moon of KY” and “Blue Water Holler”. Next, I guess, I ought to learn “Blue”. That would be fun! (If I could pull it off…)

I’d better go see what I can do to help Mama in the kitchen.

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Bliss can come from so many directions. It might be from having an excuse to bake cookies again; running into dear friends all day, and never leaving the dirt road; finding a fitting word for that troublesome verse in a new song; or, perhaps, from being able to play that new song on a freshly-tuned piano. As all of these are applicable, I’m experiencing it.

The piano tuner showed up shortly before lunchtime, and worked his wonders on our old piano. After surviving four moves (and, really, five, if you count being moved back down a fairly substantially-sized flight of stairs after sitting upstairs for a few years), it was high time it have a good tuning. I’m thinking it had been somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 years since the last time it was tuned. So, today, for the first time in a long while, I was able to play the C above middle C without hearing the B at the same time. Okay, I’ll be kind. I didn’t always hear both notes together. If I played it very lightly, I heard only the C. If I played it harder (about normal, or a little louder), I heard both. If I played it hard, I heard only the B.


Well, that’s not the case now. I’m so happy! Even the really low notes sound like themselves again.

I’m very happy. 🙂

Oh, by the way, for those of you who are still out there racking your brains for that perfect word to solve my lyrical conundrum, you may put your minds at ease. I’ve pretty well settled on “heard” as the rhyme. True, it doesn’t end in “s”, but, exact rhymes aren’t always necessary, I think.

Let me state my genuine thanks to y’all who posted all those suggestions. I know where to come next time I get stuck.

As for those other bliss-inspiring experiences today, I couldn’t even find the words to describe that bliss. I love living in this place, surrounded by awesome beauty, and beloved friends.

I’ll leave it at that.

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How Hard Can It Be?

I am presently trying to write the last verse or two to my most recent composition. How hard can it be, right? Cheesy rhymes are perfectly acceptable in the music business, as proven by so many popular songs through the years. But, what if I don’t want it to be all-out cheesy, and can’t find the word? Generally, I change the phrase or word that it’s supposed to rhyme with, and make it easier. However, I’m stuck on one line. Chances are, I’ll end up changing it again, but, it seems like it should be so simple!


What is a word that rhymes with (no joking) “words”, but is capable of maintaining the easy-listening, slow, sincere, romantic sort of feel, as the rest of the lyrics and tune do (Never mind the fact that a bluegrass fiddler/singer is writing an easy-listening tune)? For that matter, what rhymes with “words” at all? A few that come to mind are:

– birds (a little… flighty?… for this song)

– curds (Seriously. Can’t I come up with something a wee-bit more romantic than carefully soured milk?)

– nerds (my sarcastic favorite for fitting within the desired categories)

There you have it. A moment in the life of fiddling Claire.

Any suggestions would be welcomed. 🙂

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This morning I passed my driver’s test, and am now a fully-licensed driver. We’ve been trying to find a good day to go for the test since January or February. Well, we finally got it scheduled, and I’ve got another goal achieved.

Praise the LORD.

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No, I’m not posting an announcement. I just thought the title fit pretty well.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Brantley asked if Kyle and I would be interested in playing at the reception of a wedding he’d be conducting (is that the right word?). We said we certainly would, and began preparing. It would just be the two of us, and we’ve never really performed alone like that, so, preparation was a bit tricky. However, I’ve played in several different situations, often alone, so it really wasn’t too terribly stressful for me.

Skip ahead a couple of weeks: We found out that we were actually needed to play as people came in to the wedding, and found their seats. Not a big change, but a little more pressure, since folks would actually be listening to us.

Skip ahead to Friday, April 8th: We went down to Manchester, where the wedding would be held, and headed to the rehearsal dinner. Until then, I didn’t even know who was getting married. All I knew was that the bride was the daughter of someone we probably knew. When I saw who the parents were, I felt much more at ease, as I knew them from some gigs we’ve played. They’re always so kind, so encouraging, so thoughtful. I knew I could relax and have a good time.

Later that evening as we were in a conversation with the bride-to-be, I started to get the idea that Kyle and I were the ONLY music that they had planned. No processional, no recessional, nothing for the wedding party/family to come in with. I also found out that the service was taking place out by the lake. FYI, high heeled pumps are not the best choice for walking down a hill of rather soft ground. But, I managed, and still had a great time.

Back to the music: I knew the parents were distracted with guests and nerves, but I finally got to talk to them about the service music. I was then asked if I could play the Wedding March, and I suggested Blue Bells of Scotland for the recessional. The nerve-racking part of it all was that I’d never played the Wedding March (and didn’t know how it went very well), and I’d only sort of fooled around with playing Blue Bells of Scotland. So, Mr. Brantley (also in this conversation) turned and gave me a 2 or 3 minute lesson on playing the Wedding March, which means, he hummed it while I mimicked his notes on the fiddle. Come to find out, it’s a really simple tune, and Kyle was able to pick it up quickly on the guitar. Thus, Kyle and I soon left to find our suite (that the afore mentioned parents had so graciously acquired for us), and practiced until what we figured was curfew. After that, I crocheted a little, got ready to go to bed, gracefully dropped an earring down the sink, watched Daddy borrow tools from the inn and retrieve it (my hero!), found out I’d left one of my bags in Mrs. Brantley’s car, and went to bed. The next morning we practiced more, went to town for Breakfast, went to Goodwill (oh, yeah), and headed back over for the big moment.

In the end, even though I felt a little clueless (I didn’t know exactly when we were supposed to start playing, especially for the wedding party and Bride), everything went off quite well. The wind made things a little interesting, as fiddle bows are incredibly light-weight, and tend to be blown around easily, but, even that didn’t make any trouble, really. So, Kyle and I can now say that we’ve played for an entire wedding – rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding music, service music, and reception music. Thankfully, for the rehearsal and reception we had the Brantleys playing, too.

The funny things is that, just a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned to Kyle how neat a bluegrass wedding could be. “It doesn’t even have to be my wedding,” I stated, “as long as I could just see one.”


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“Will college split up the band?”

“So, college next?”

“Where ya gonna go to college?”

“What do you plan to do?”

Those are definitely some common questions. But, rather than giving you a life history/dreams for the future epistle, I’ll stick to brief responses.

1.) No, my college plans will not split up the band. I don’t want to pass up or waste this opportunity to play with Missionary Ridge. I love it! Plus, the experience has been incredible.

2.) College is not necessarily next. Currently, I have 12 hours of college credit, just from finishing high school subjects with college CLEPs. Hopefully by the end of this month (or so) I’ll have 6 more. I may continue to do some CLEPs here and there, but it’s not where my attentions will be focused.

3.) If I do continue to acquire college credit, it will be from home.

4.) What do I plan to do? Well, for now, I’m playing with Missionary Ridge, finishing high school, and baking cookies on a whim. As for a “career”, I’ll probably stick to playing/teaching music, small dairy, and home-making.

Hope that answers some of those questions.

Next post: A Bluegrass Wedding

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