“Play that GREY EAGLE,” by Erwin A. Thompson
My father Erwin Thompson--musician and raconteur-- tells this true story of old-fashioned square-dance music--when it was just music.
There was this fiddler back some years ago who was learning. He had one piece that he played quite well, but it was a struggle for him to learn. He hadn't gotten around to learning any more.
The neighborhood was well aware of his abilities and limitations. When he went to a dance, he always took his fiddle and some time in the evening he would play his one piece, "The Gray Eagle."
All went well until one fatal evening when he was the ONLY FIDDLER THERE!
So he played "The Gray Eagle."
Everybody knew his situation. When they were getting plans for what to play for the next square dance of the evening, they would discuss all of the various choices without anyone expecting him to play any of them. Then someone would come up with a great idea. "Why don't you play that Gray Eagle!"
The crowd would hail it as a great new idea and the fiddler would play "The Gray Eagle!"
Tact, and fitting courtesy and ingenuity into social situations that could have been embarrassing.
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