[dropcap]I[/dropcap] wanted to be a concert violinist,” Miss Katherine said. “I’ve been playing since I was three.”
Katherine Clark is ninety-one, but her Italian violin is much older. It dates back to Moses. It looks good for a relic, but not half as good as Katherine.
She got the violin when she was a young woman. A gift from a musical repairman who recognized her talent – and her brown eyes.
“A bus ran over it, destroyed it,” Katherine explained. “The music store threw it away. The repairman dug it from the dumpster, put it back together, and he gave it to me.”
Brown eyes make men do strange things.
At nineteen, Katherine packed her violin and traveled forty minutes east. “I taught school in Greensboro,” she said. “It’s tiny. The only things to do there were pick tobacco and go to church.”
So she became a Baptist.
One Sunday, Katherine noticed a blue-eyed fella gawking at her during the sermon. The boy later introduced himself as Herschel. He was a tobacco farmer, and Katherine wasn’t interested in farmers. She didn’t want to be anything more than friends. And that’s what they became. Such good friends, she ended up bearing four of his children.
She showed me a picture of Herschel on the wall.
“See, I wasn’t supposed to be a famous violinist.” Katherine smiled. “I make a better wife and mother.”
She wedged the violin beneath her chin, and played through a three octave scale. Up the neck and down again.
Just to prove she still could.
Well, she can.