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The grand lady of the Ozarks (Violet Hensley) has been fiddling most of her life -- but what makes her unique is that she makes the fiddles she and others play. This year she celebrated her 40th year as a craftsman (or craftswomen to be more accurate) at Silver Dollar City's American Music and Craft Festival. At her booth she has a display of fiddles in various stages of completion including the molds used to give the fiddle its distinctive shape.

Besides fiddles she is also known for her hand carved 'wooden spoon's'. Not the kind you'd toss a salad with -- these are play'n spoons -- never far from good music and always at the ready.

I asked Mrs. Hensley what made a 'good fiddle' (wondering if the wood used or the manner of construction had something to do with the quality of the sound). Her response surprised me. She replied "it's the one that makes a pleasing sound to your ear". I think there is a lot of truth in that statement for more than just fiddles.

"We consider that the man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia reels without losing his grip, may be depended upon in any kind of emergency."

- Mark Twain

Picture location: Silver Dollar City
The picture and writin' is approved by the Editor-in-Chief of this outfit.

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Copyright 2003-2006, Stephen J. Rogers