A Master Fretter (continued)

By Howard Kolodny

After several years of trying to master the ukulele in its various forms and sizes, I’ve branched into teaching myself the balalaika, banjo, dulcimer, full-size guitar, mandolin, and something called the bowed psaltery. Playing the trumpet in high school and remembering something of how to read music have given me a leg up on getting a few coherent sounds.

The music I’m trying is old-time stuff suitable to the instruments. This means cowboy songs on the guitar and ukulele, and older popular songs from the 1800s to the 1900s and later. Stephen Foster music and songs of the Civil War era are favorites. The more modern pieces are old pop tunes that I remember listening to and liking when I was growing up, such as songs from the 1940s through 1962. Sadly, I pretty much stopped listening to or understanding popular songs that came later than that year, because after graduation I started working full time and going to Georgetown University Law Center, and I got married.

Plans for the collections? I just don’t know. What makes me think about such things at all is what happened recently when our daughter, Jennifer, stopped by the house.

She took a long hard look at her father’s many toys and made the following observation (or was it a command?): “Do not leave me to deal with all this shit!!!” Out of the mouths of (41-year-old) babes often comes much wisdom.

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