Fiddler's Jaunt

Just when our hero Charlie Moon doesn't know how he is going to escape not dancing with the woman whom he intends to ask to be his wife,* he makes a strategic retreat to the stage, and takes banjo in hand...
Now firmly in the groove, the Columbine Grass** settled down to do their thing, which was to pick, pluck, and sing and create quite a big commotion that would compel even shy, uncoordinated folks into high-gear locomotion.  All over the ballroom, chairs were shoved away from tables as the happy crowd got up to kick heels and stomp and shout.

Oh, and did they dance!

In the entire history of Granite Creek, Colorado...there had never been such a rip-tootin' celebration.  Not even that time when they hanged Big Sam Carp from a cottonwood limb for shooting the mayor's brother in the...But that's another story, and one best forgotten.

Now it just so happens that the leader of the band is a natural-born traveling man and Charlie Moon likes to ride the rails, which is why they took the Orange Blossom Special over to Big Rock Candy Mountain, where they stopped to sit a spell with Cotton Eyed Joe and Old Joe Clark and boiled some cabbage down before they flagged down that New River Train, which got 'em to Cumberland Gap just in time to watch the Blue Moon of Kentucky rise and shine on the Little Cabin on the Hill, which was where they caught that sixteen coaches long Night Train to Georgia, which made an unscheduled stop In the Pines so's they could pick pretty Miss Patsy Poynter a bouquet of Wildwood Flowers.  It was a might busy trip, but somewhere or another along the way, they found time to Walk the Dog.

In spite of the fact that the girl singer was absolutely first-rate, one or two Nashville music critics might've been of the opinion that the Columbine Grass was not right up there with such classy outfits as those put together by Bill Monroe or Flatt and Scruggs or Doc Watson or Ricky Scraggs, and that Mr. Moon's singers and string pluckers weren't quite ready for the Grand Ole Opry, but none by-gosh said so out loud--not that night in Granite Creek--because they dang well knew what was good for them!  Besides, what the CG lacked in raw talent, they more than made up for with red-blooded, cowboy enthusiasm.

--James D. Doss, Snake Dreams: A Charlie Moon Mystery (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2008), pp. 98-99.
I could try to explain how excited I was when I read this the other night as I was trying to go to sleep, but I have to go practice playing "In the Pines," which our teacher told us about just last week as one of Bill Monroe's greatest hits, and then maybe after I work on my drones for "Cluck Old Hen," I'll finish up with a few rounds of "Old Joe Clark," all songs I hadn't even heard of until a month or so ago.  Can you tell I spend much too much of my life hunting down references?

*It's complicated.  She's an FBI agent, he's a Colorado rancher and sometime tribal investigator with other women in his past, including one to whom he originally offered the ring he is about to offer her.  Which she knows because she was snooping in his pockets and found the receipt.  No, wait, that hasn't happened yet.  The Columbine is his ranch.
**"Picture the brawny maître d' on bass (Pierre Brigance was the Columbine blacksmith), the bearded foreman Pete Bushman with his granddaddy's Arkansas Traveler fiddle pressed firmly against his chin, the Wyoming Kyd with the pearl-inlaid mandolin, and the long, lean Ute [Charlie Moon], ready to let go on his five-string banjo!"  It's even more complicated why the band was pretending to be other people (like a maître d').  Suffice it to say, it was a set up for a surprise birthday party for the sixteen-year old Sarah Frank who also wanted Charlie to dance the first dance with her.  He flubbed that, too.


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