For What It’s Worth

Violin, donkey sing-a-long

If you are learning to play the violin and people head for cover when you start tuning up, here’s a suggestion: Find a nearby pasture and, who knows, you may soon be the accompanist for a donkey choir.

You don’t believe me? Just be “brayve” enough to try and see what happens.

Maybe you won’t attract a donkey choir, but, based on the experience of a Florida woman, you might find at least one donkey interested in a sing-a-long with your violin playing. Just don’t expect the other animals to join in.

Recently, a shy Florida woman with a ready smile and sense of humor decided to learn to play the violin. The woman, Alicia Shueler, lives on a farm in Keystone Heights, FL. Determined not to subject her family to the sounds of a beginning violinist, Alicia decided to practice outside. Maybe the animals would appreciate her budding talent.

First, she tried playing for the cows. They were “unmooved” by her efforts. They ignored her, she said, laughing. Wrong instrument, I suppose. Maybe it needs to be some of kind of a horn for cows. No, you say. Perhaps I am trying to milk this too far.

She was thinking about trying with some other animals when her donkey, Don Quixote, wandered her way. It could be that he recognized talent or just felt obligated to repay a debt. After all, a short time ago he was near death and Alicia rescued him, nursed him to full health, and gave him a home on her range. Now, he was willing to show the range in his voice if she would but accompany him.

Not one to fiddle around when opportunity comes, Alicia put the violin to her shoulder and began drawing the bow with horsehair (that may explain why the horse was uninterested) across the gut strings and the donkey brayed along with the music. Whether Don Quixote was carrying the correct tune or braying to the right beat, I don’t know.

You have to understand something at this point. Music and I are a long way from being in a relationship. I have no feel for music. Once when riding in the car I was listening to a song on the radio and tapping out the beat with my fingers on the dashboard. My beloved wife finally in desperation asked quite sweetly, “Honey, can’t you feel that beat?” I thought I was. Maybe I just tap my fingers in syncopation? I can recognize musical notes; it’s just that they are not recognizable when I sing them. Had to stop singing in the shower because the water backs up.

I digress. Back to Don Quixote. Each time Alicia played, he sang. If you don’t think that’s amazing, look at it this way. How many beginning violinists do you know who, every time they bow a note, a donkey comes running to join them in song? It’s enough to make Stradivarius blush.

Alicia decided to make a video to put on YouTube for her family to see and now she and Don Quixote are virtually famous. More than 87,000 viewings on YouTube and at least one TV station and CNN have broadcast her story.

I bet those cows would listen up now.

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3 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cindy says:

    “Hay,” you got a laugh out of me with this one. Oh, fiddlesticks, now I guess I’ll go search for the YouTube video… 🙂

  2. Chris Turner says:

    So glad Mrs. Hix passed along the link to the blog. I immediately chuckled when I saw it was titled, “For What it’s Worth.” OF COURSE that would be the title. What else would I have expected. Immediately brought back so many memories of the nearly four years I was at the Star, most of that under your leadership. Hard to believe that’s been 20 years ago next year I wound up on your door step to write Sports. Remembering those Wednesday’s I’d find the paper with red circles around a type-O in a headline, or a ribbing over the length of time “all that technology” was going to save us (it eventually did!). Great days those were and not sure I’ve ever enjoyed work more.

    Amazing the water that’s gone under the bridge since then and amazing how those years shaped what has become my future. There is just something right about you still waxing elegantly on!

    Look forward to reading more in the future. – Chris

    PS. left you the link to my current site. You’ll find my blog there and hopefully some of it will be entertainment for you (minus the type-Os of course!). Blessings!

  3. Marilois Kirksey says:

    I saw her playing and DQ singing the other day…one of 87,000!

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