Fiddle Player And His Wife on the Family Farm

A Missourian remembers her fiddle player father, musically-talented mother, and Christmas on their family farm

| Good Old Days

Our family farm was a musical one. Dad was a natural fiddle player and Mama read music and could play for hours too-without the notes. We five kids all sang and harmonized 'round the piano. Often times neighbors would call and want to hear our folks play, and they would listen on the old-time telephone. They would visit us too and join in the music. We kids were all in music at school, as well as the big plays.

Mother would walk up to the church house before Christmas to teach the musical parts of a cantata to the children. Other ladies would help with the speaking parts.

The tree would be a huge one that touched the high ceiling. Its ornaments wouldn't be fancy. Gifts were simple, such as 10-cent silk hankies, 5-cent cotton ones, beads, color-books and crayons, combs, brushes, necklaces, books and other items that cost a fraction of what they would now.

A big plump Santa Claus always thrilled us all with his bag of oranges and candy. He came in with a big, "Ho, Ho, Ho."

We kids still believed in Santa until a girl from the city told us it was our parents. I remember how the little girls cried.

The school Christmas program was a delight. We practiced it over and over again so it would be good for all the parents to see. As at church, we drew names and always bought our teacher a gift too. The only money we had for buying gifts was from picking up, hulling and drying the black walnuts on our hillside. Our hands would really be stained-but how proud each of us would be with our 85 or 90 cents to buy gifts for the names we drew, our teacher, parents, and our brothers and sisters.

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