Oh, To Hear The Fiddles Play

Rick Workman By Rick Workman, 15th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Narrative

An event or situation that some consider to be the worst thing that could ever happen may, in actuality, be the most wonderful kindness. It is a matter of perception.

Oh, To Hear The Fiddles Play

Time can take savage toll on heart, body and mind. Reality can be worse. An individual human existence can only tolerate so much of both before it buckles under the pressure, especially when they are negatively heaped in generous helpings.
Sometimes the ravages of time and bad reality cause a person to take desperate, irreversible actions that can never be forgiven, forgotten, lived down, or at times, lived through. But, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes there are people wise enough to make lemonade out of life's lemons. I think they call that gettin' by the best way you know how.
It was a warm Southern Sunday afternoon in 1987 the one and only time I met her. She had a smile warmer than the outside sunshine, and her eyeshone like big blue-gray he had a spirit as free as the wind, and a vocabulary chock-full of southern grace. I was in her presence for less than an hour, but she will remain in my memory forever.
I was there to give her a ride to somewhere she needed to go. I don't think she was expecting me. As I approached, she seemed taken aback.
"Oh, goodness!", she said, "I wasn't expecting gentleman callers. I know I must look a fright." She took a frail hand and brushed back a wisp of silver-gray. I assured her she looked fine.
Helping her to the vehicle, I watched her smooth her dress. She seemed appalled at having to venture into the public in this condition of disarray. "I just wish I had more notice you were comin'," she said, finally settling in peacefully for the ride.
As the trees and high-line polles whizzed by us she seemed content enough, and comfortable enough, to start asking questions.
Do you like fiddle music?" she asked, with a trace of faraway obvious in her pretty eyes.
"Yes, ma'am," I answered, continuing with my duties.
"I do to," she responded, "It's just such a pretty sound."
We had ridden in silence for a few miles before she spoke again. "I sure do love it when they have dances. I love to dance," she said. I could almost see her gliding to music only she could hear. I saw her smile.
"Do you think papa will let me go to the dance tonight?" she asked.
I didn't know how to answer, not knowing her father. "I don't see that he would have much problem with it, considering you would be properly escorted," I answered, being drawn into her genteel world.
She had a mischevious twinkle in her eyes just before she asked. "Would you be so kind as to escort me?" It was a simple question, eloquent in its innocence. I thought I saw her blush as the words fell from the air. There was only one answer I could give her.
"Sure I will, " I said, "I would be happy to be your beau for the evening, Miss Sally." I have never answered a question more truthfully in my life, but, I knew we would never dance. I only wish we could have, but Miss Sally had other obligations.
Prior to meeting her, I had dreaded the assignment. It was never easy for me, as a young emergency medical technician, to deal with nursing homes and the people inhabiting them. I held the perception that patients of continuous care facilities were only idly waiting out the obvious end of a lifetime. In some instances that may be true, but not in the case of Miss Sally.
Miss Sally had transcended the bonds of an ill-favored reality and in the far reaches of her mind she had recessed to a happier time. Most folks could claim correctly her mind was not what it once was, and that this was a sorrowful occurence, and I wouldn't argue the point. But, I also can't deny the happiness I saw shining in the face of an eighty-some-odd years old woman, either. I am ecstatic for her, in that she was able to use the mind some would look upon as basically void to create a world with little pain and loneliness in which to live out her remaining days.
As we rolled her cot into the hospital, she reached back, grabbed my hand and whispered, "Now, don't you forget about the dance! I'll be ready as soon as I come in from the field with Papa!"
"I won't," I promised. I watched hospital personnel roll her through two heavy double doors. I never saw her again. I have always wondered who she danced with that night.
I guess I can only hope when the time comes for me to relinquish physical and mental control of my body, and I'm unlucky enough to still be here, maybe I can hear the fiddles play.


Aging, Continuous Care, Dances, Emergency Medical Technician, Emt, Fiddle, Patient, Patients

Meet the author

author avatar Rick Workman
I am a middle-aged man still searching for what makes life complete. My areas of interest are music, health, emergency medicine, and elderly issues.

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author avatar Denise Salmon
19th Sep 2013 (#)

I enjoyed reading your post, very nice

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