An old fiddle comes home

A story from the Scotch Colony of New Brunswick
submitted by Cari Grierson, July 2012

Many years ago, in the early 1900’s in the part of the Colony called Kincardine today, a man called Angus Adam played the fiddle.  His daughter, Carrie Irene, chorded for him as she had the gift of being able to play the piano by ear.  Carrie married  James (Jim) Alexander Grierson, a young officer in  the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and moved away from her home to live in many small towns in the Province, wherever her husband was stationed.  There were three children born to this couple, Roy Allison, Gerald Alan and Carolyn Marie.  And as time would have it, the children grew up and had families of their own. Carrie and Jim passed away and the items of their household travelled in many directions

Much later, in the early years of the 21st century, Roy’s wife, Caroline also called Cari took an interest in learning the violin.  She asked repeatedly where Roy’s grandpa Angus’ fiddle went.  No one seemed to remember until one day it was found tucked away deep in the attic of Carolyn’s house in Long Island, New York.  It was much the worse for wear, missing bridge, strings, large and small tuners, chin rest and bow but Carolyn packed it up and sent it back to “The Colony” where Roy and Cari now lived. They had given Carolyn the promise that the violin would be restored.

Cari and Roy met with Joe Farquhar, a fiddle maker in the Upper Kintore part of the Colony and asked him if he would be interested in repairing Angus Adam’s fiddle. Joe said he would be delighted to fix the fiddle and added that Angus was a really nice man and had worked with him years before. “But” said Joe,” get it to me soon, I’m 91 you know!”

Within days Joe had begun to work on the fiddle.  Soon he called with a list of items that had to be replaced.  When asked where these fiddle parts could be acquired, Joe recommended that Cari go to Paul Smithkey’s house in Kincardine.  Paul had many musical items for sale and had all the pieces needed for the fiddle.  The amazing thing was that Paul Smithkey now lived in the house that Angus Adam had built in the early 1900s! It was at the very same home where Angus had played that fiddle with his daughter at the piano, that the pieces for his fiddle were purchased, many years later.

The parts were bought. Joe finished his work. He called Cari one day to tell her the violin was ready and that she would truly love its mellow sound. The fiddle that had come home after so many lost years was ready to sound music in the hills of the Scotch Colony again!  Cari plays Angus’ fiddle regularly now and is touched by its beautiful tone.

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