On Ground Hogs Day I’m always reminded of my grandfather who always wore a suit. He owned a Model-T truck with a cage on the back for his posse of hunting dogs that he love to chase foxes with. He had pet foxes that he would go on these hunts with, unharming the fox after the event. He always treasured this photo of Mickey the Groundhog, the pet of the man he bought his foxes from in West Virginia. Grandad also played country fiddle and one of his fox-hunting buddies gave him this busted up violin that I inherited and has a RED VIOLIN story of its own.
Grandad tried being a bar-keep at the mines out side of Mineral before joining the C&O railroad (circa 1890′s). This is the earliest photo I have of him.
Grandad transfered to Mineral Train Depot from Beaverdam where he was the train agent for both and their home in Mineral was the one I remember as a child. He had a telegraph clicker at home that he used to check on grandma. Mom use to say they use to do morse-code on dinner table with dinnerware when she was young to keep private some of their conversation. Mom hated it.
One of the first images I did digital of my mom and grandfather.
Grandad always wanted a silver fox. I don’t think he ever had one. He loved the photo Mr. Ruckman sent him of his pet groundhog.
The Perry Violin had been in limbo for over a half century. My mother had found it in a paper bag above the kitchen in the Mineral Home in 1968 and had it somewhere? One of my grandad’s fox hunting friends had given the violin to him way back when? I sold it to Tim Donley in 1998 who was a violin repair apprentice. Donley was a championship fiddlier and has taught at Augusta Heritage Center so I felt I had put the instrument in the right hands and not a collector too never be played again. Tim had a web site for a violin shop in North Carolina that is now gone (the Perry has turned into the RED VIOLIN)? This picture is from that site holding the still unfinished Perry. In my photo you can see Frank had probably whittled one of the tuning pegs and got no further?
picture of Donley with the Perry and found his new website : http://www.donleyviolins.net/
I was able to buy a Gibson with the money from the Perry sale, so it was a fair trade all around.