Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Working Definition Of Love

For New Year's Eve, one of the happiest songs in the world, "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show, about a man heading home to his girl and the Raleigh sunshine. Singer and fiddler Ketch Secor wrote it with Bob Dylan. In all church and family settings, The Episconixonian endorses the Camp Stevens policy of changing the lyric in the third verse as follows:
Walkin' due south out of Roanoke
Caught a trucker outta Philly
Passed the time tellin' jokes
If you're a guitarist, you play it in G with your capo at the second fret for the sake of the fiddle, which defaults to the key of A. You can bet the fiddler won't tune to you.

Except under certain circumstances. When I was in elementary school in Detroit I had a book of clarinet duets. My godfather, Louis Cook, would tune his violin up a half-step to play along. Louis also taught me how to put sliced tomatoes on buttered toast and white onion on cheeseburgers. But for a violinist who treasured his instrument, wrenching it out of tune so he could accompany an 11-year-old on "Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes" was a working definition of love.

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