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Two Unusual Encounters in One Day

Posted by bj on Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I don't know if you've ever had the experience of seeing someone out of context. You know you've met or seen the person, but you're not sure where or how. If you add the confusion of the Antiques World being a rather large extended family where people pass through your life for a very brief time at this market or that show where their face becomes known though you may not ever know their name, it makes it all the more likely that if you meet someone from another circle within the context of an antiques market the confusion will become complete and total.

For those who aren't aware, antiques are my part time business in addition to the web design business, and this time of year, it's the busier of the two businesses.

Sunday I set up my booth at Renninger's Antiques Market in Adamstown PA, a market I haven't sold at in a long time, but since my love sells down there and it offered an opportunity for us to spend some time together I made the trip down there Saturday night after my gig playing for the long term patients at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center.

A couple booths down from me was a guy who looked familiar, but I didn't really think anything of it, since I figured I had set up near him or sold to him or bought from him at some point in time.

I had both fiddles with me because of the gig, and given my druthers I'll always pick up my main fiddle since she sings so dang sweetly. And given the inevitable boredom of setting up and selling at these markets, I always end up picking up my fiddle after I've gotten the booth set up and had some breakfast. Playing my good fiddle at the market was a treat since I don't usually bring the good one when I set up outdoors since it can be a bit rough on a fiddle. It's been fun playing at the markets since it seems to attract the customers and put them in a very good mood, lots of bopping by to the music, smiles, and sometimes even a dance step or two. I put cards out and get an occasional gig booked this way. It also tends to keep people around the booth longer, and gives me a better shot at selling stuff since it slows 'em down. Yes, there's method to this madness.

After I played a couple few tunes the guy who was set up a couple booths down from me came wandering over. He was staring at my fiddle with a rapt look.

"May I see your fiddle?" he asked. I explained that it wasn't for sale, and he said he understood. I handed it to him. He looked closely at it, then plucked a couple of the strings, stating, "Yes, she's singing to me already," then asked, "May I put the bow to her?" I handed him the bow.

And my jaw dropped. I was totally gobsmacked!

This is who was playing my fiddle . . .

As he's playing, the woman who was with him (who I later found out is his mother) is standing in the front of my booth yelling "He's an award winner, he plays at The Grand Old Opry in Tennessee!"

When he stopped playing he raved about my fiddle and its setup, which he said was "perfect" (thanks, Bill!)

I then came to the realization that I hadn't met this man in the Antiques World, and asked him his name. When he told me he was Travis Wetzel I started laughing, and told him we'd met before and had been introduced very briefly at the Lyons Fiddle Festival, where Travis's band was playing, and where Janey and I had been jamming (that was the year Jane took third in the contest.)

We had a nice day getting to know each other. Travis now lives in Nashville TN and had come up to play at the Kutztown Folk Festival but used to live in Norristown PA and often played with Jane at places like John and Peter's in New Hope.

Later that day I got to know a couple from West Virginia when they noticed my fiddle on the tailgate. Wayne and Kathy Nutter from Union WV are part of the Oldtime World and have the distinction of having the vanity licence plate "Oldtime" from the State of West Virginia! Their son is a fiddler, and their band has won at Clifftop and Galax. They invited me to stay with them if I get down that way, and I have a feeling I will be taking them up on that offer. They know Lester McCumbers pretty well, and when I played one of his tunes, Cherry River Line, they told me to keep doing what I'm doing, which is all the encouragement I needed!

Wow, what a day!



8 comments on “Two Unusual Encounters in One Day”

rosinhead Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @10:06:13 AM

The power of music and the mysteries and acquaintances that it provides. Great story BJ. Thanks for sharing.

brya31 Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @11:55:05 AM

Great story !

robinja Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @1:30:34 PM

Very cool! Wish I could bring my fiddle to work, but I think it would be frowned upon in cube world!

dwoolsey Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @3:19:28 PM

bj~thanks for sharing this with the rest of us. What an exciting experience for you !

bj Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @3:39:59 PM

rosinhead, yeah, it's amazing what music has brought into my life!

Rob, thanks!

Judy, yes I can bring my fiddle to work, but I also don't have a regular paycheck or paid vacation, so even though Wayne and Kathy live a grand total of five miles from Clifftop and invited me to stay for the duration in a place with hot running water and a dry place to sleep, I'm not sure if I'll make it this year. Maybe . . . maybe not.

dwoolsey, these types of experiences have happened before, and usually have something to do with Jane, either directly or indirectly. That girl is definitely a catalyst in my life, though she says Peter Stampfel is one of the catalysts in hers. I can understand that, having met Peter (check out his Moving Day video I posted recently!)

richdissmore Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @4:42:38 PM

that was really nice he really grate that was quit a day lucky youyour learning set up work has payed off for you i,m doing a lot better learning to play with new teacher she teaches irish music i can,t beleave i,m learning to read music.in the 40 plus years iv,e played guitar and bass iv,e never needed to read music my ears have never falded i think thats why she likes teacheing me i,m very easy to work with i hope good day keep fiddlen

robinja Says:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 @5:10:28 PM

Clifftop, yes! Yes! If you get serious about that, please message me - we're going early and leaving early, so I wouldn't want to miss you after all this time!

nancymae Says:
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 @9:24:57 AM

AWESOME!!! Isn't it wonderful when serendipity strikes!!!!!!

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