|BWS Stories - NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners|
NABBW and GRAND Magazine Contests Winners - GRANDPA'S VIOLIN AND THE TENNESSEE WALTZ - WINNER!
Osmundson, a freelance writer, has authored art, children, parent, grandparent,
teacher, newspaper, religious, travel, Chicken Soup and Family Circle articles
for over thirty magazines. She lives in Fort
enjoys art, golf, crafts, Dixieland Jazz, dancing cruising, reading and
grandparenting her five grandchildren. Her goal for the future is to get one of
her children’s books published.
GRANDPA'S VIOLIN AND THE TENNESSEE WALTZ - WINNER!
Because of my
parents' divorce in 1947, I learned to dance to my grandpa's violin.
walked out never to return home again when I was in second grade. My mother
gave up our little house by the railroad tracks and moved us to Grandpa's farm
outside of the small town of Mesquite, Texas.
Grandpa, tired after a long day of laying bricks for houses, always got out his
tractor and plowed his few acres. I rode along. Once, he taught me to hoe corn
beneath an orange sunset. I didn’t help when he slaughtered a pig. I covered my
head in a pillow against the squeals.
nights Grandpa sat beside a dim light and read his western paperbacks. Sometimes
he entertained us. His dentures hurt so he never wore them. He'd roll his lips
off his toothless gums then scratch his ribs and hop around like a monkey. Or, he
played his violin, harmonica and the mandolin he didn't like.
I only knew him to be a poor,
tanned, wrinkled, toothless, hard working man who drove a clunky old truck. He loved
to read, fiddle country music and play with my brother and me.
in life, Grandpa practiced law and built bridges in Jacksonville, Florida.
He lived in big houses and drove the most modern cars. After he lost everything
in the Depression, he moved the family to Tennessee. Later he followed my mother to Texas.
The depression didn't affect Grandpa's love of music. My mom says, “He always
had a harmonica in his pocket." I remember when he and a small band played
western music at the local hall within walking distance of his rural home.
One night when I was eleven, I leaned against a post in the hall, tapped my
foot and watched Grandpa play his "fiddle." One of Grandpa's
friends offered to teach me to waltz. The man twirled me - ONE-two-three,
ONE-two-three - while Grandpa played the "Tennessee Waltz."
Long after Grandpa moved back to Tennessee
and passed away, I inherited his violin. I created a decoration and hung it on
a wall where it collected dust but still reminded me of my grandpa and his
2007, I learned my granddaughter had outgrown her student violin. At nine,
she'd skipped the intermediate size and needed a full size.
"I'll have my grandpa's violin refurbished," I told my son, "and
give it to her on one condition - it stays within our family even if she quits
I took the instrument to a local repair shop here in Fort Collins, Colorado.
When I returned, the man tuned and played it. My eyes filled with tears.
"Sorry," I said. "I haven't heard that violin since my grandpa
played and I learned to dance."
I closed my eyes and pictured Grandpa
on a chair fiddlin' away in the hall down the rural road from the farm. An
eleven-year-old in my mind, I danced while Grandpa played the
"Tennessee Waltz"- ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three.