We all went down to Pueblo Park
to hear Don Johnson play;
He's durn sure the finest fiddler
that has wandered out this way!
But I 'spose you've heard Don fiddle;
if you haven't, well you should.
I name him best in the whole Southwest --
and that is mighty good!
Well,this old gent came ambling by,
said his name was L.B. Wray,
'llowed as how he's from Illinois,
and if he had a fiddle, he'd play.
"Well," said that Johnson feller,
"We'd sure like to hear you play!"
And he handed him his fiddle --
all tuned to a perfect "A".
Well, the old man took Don's fiddle
and adjusted all the strings;
He listened carefully and long
before he played a thing.
For it isn't just perfection
that you're listening to hear
It must fit the heart that's playing,
as well as please the ear.
And when he'd tightened up the bow,
and rechecked all the strings,
He took that bow in his old right hand,
and he made that fiddle sing!
Oh, it wasn't to the quality
of Johnson's, understand,
But you had to make allowance
for the trembling of the hands,
And the years without a fiddle,
and the mind a-running back
Over waltzes, reels, and hoedowns
that he'd fiddled in the past.
And when he'd finished playing,
there was silence -- then applause,
But you couldn't help but notice
that little bit of pause;
Its the highest form of honor
that an audience imparts
Its a tribute to musicians --
for they know they've touched your hearts.
So I love this sad old picture
of the fiddler L.B. Wray
When he "tuned" that "borried" fiddle,
and he "reckoned" he would play.
Dee Strickland Johnson
© March, 1995