Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Day That The Angels Came Out of Hiding

Written by: Amy Tobin of Fein Violins

This story was written by one of our visitors who came into the shop with a violin that he had built many years earlier. He was in his early 90's when he came in and has since passed away. I was invited to play the violin he made at his memorial service, which was an incredibly touching affair. I thought it would be a nice tribute to publish his story here.

The Day That the Angels Came Out of Hiding, by Mr. Mehrkens

My son Douglas and I spent a nice father and son day. It was our day even if some of the time was spent on a doctor call. Life is almost too busy…so busy that we miss some of the simple things in life. Doug and I hadn’t spent a day together for quite a while.
It was a day to do as we liked. We left Elk River in late forenoon and headed for St. Paul after getting the doctor behind us. Doug had visited some small but interesting violin shops in St. Paul and had talked to the managers about his dad’s home-made fiddle. They wanted to see it. As we rang the “ding-dong bell,” two ladies came to meet us. They were very anxious to see Doug’s dad’s home-made fiddle.

I set it up on a counter and we opened up the “one dollar antique case;” a bid at a public auction, thanks to Irene and Al Anderson. Nice relatives! Out of that case came a beautiful violin with a high gloss, hand-rubbed finish.
The ladies couldn’t resist the temptation to handle and feel the velvet finish…a blonde color like knotty pine as on a cabin wall. They asked if they could play it and one of them took it back to her work space to tune it up some. When she returned, her eyes were all a-gleam. I asked her if she would like to play it, while at the same time I was afraid how bad it might sound, since it had been in the cold, damp car trunk all day.
“It sounds nice and soft,” she said. She bowed the D and G strings and it sounded great.
“Play it more,” I asked her. “Do you know Amazing Grace?”
She knew it well and started right away. She played it just beautiful and brought out the great tones. It sounded so nice that the four of us had tears in our eyes. It seemed like angels coming out of the clouds. Our hearts throbbed as we listened to a great fiddle and a great musician. “What a rendition!” I thought.
“We are sorry about taking so much of your time,” I apologized. But they convinced us that they had enjoyed the visit.
A few days later we received an email inviting us to stop by again sometime.
We left Summit Hill, where we could see the State Capitol, and Doug, being the tour guide, explained why the Capitol was so shiny and white. “The builder used a special finish that shines out at night and day. It was a tough sell, but it proved to be worth it.” It was very stunning and almost looked ghost-like.
At Doug’s South Minneapolis home, I was ready for a nap. We had a busy day. As his family came home one by one, they tiptoed right past my napping body on the sofa in the living room. Even Rosie, their big brown dog kept their four cats off my blanket.
That night, Sally had planned a great supper for us. Her mother and son, along with Marilynn joined us . Her son, a high school senior, has a dream about building a boat to sail around North America and I think he’ll do it. If you don’t have a dream, how can you expect a dream to come true?
For Sunday Marilyn and I were invited to join Doug at his church. Small group and very friendly. They have their own band and I was invited to join in. It was lots of fun and we want to come back again. It was nice to meet their friends and we felt very welcome.
Thank you Doug for that great week-end. I’ll cherish it forever.

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