I have now completed the southern end of my Appalachian route. I should take this moment to confess something… I play the dulcimer.
O.K. I don’t really play the dulcimer, more like I can play one very rudimentary song and 1/2 of another.
A dulcimer is a sort of lap guitar related to the Appalachian backwoods and my childhood home. Strangely enough my childhood home was no where near the Appalachians and none of said home’s inhabitants were from there or had ever been there. Yet two finely crafted, fully functional, instruments hung on our living room wall. They would come down in the summer time and join us on our adventures (a subject for another day) but usually they hung there doing nothing more than amuse my friends who had never seen such contraptions.
I knew enough of suburban teenage social rules to never attempt to explain or demonstrate what these wall hangings were. I ignored them along with any questions regarding what they might be.
It was not unusual for my family to leave me home alone for extended periods of time. I was old enough, somewhat responsible, and lived in a cul-de-sac of very involved and nosy neighbors. It was standard operating procedure among us guys, that in the event that one of our parents were gone, that was where we would be.
On one such occasion I came home late from work to find all the lights in the house ablaze and quite a racket coming from the open windows. Inside I found my friends staging a live performance of the finest dulcimer playing ever displayed along with some of the worst singing. Say what you want of the quality of the concert but what it lacked in talent it more than made up for in volume.
Late nights and loud noises are a sure fire way to attract my neighbor and the police. As usual we simply promised the officer and the neighbor that we would be quiet and act our age and that was the end of it.
Upon my parents return I happened to overhear one of my neighbors give a report on my escapades while left alone. “So-and-so said she caught Brohammas and all his friends drunk in your house. She says she called the cops and is very upset that Brohammas would drink and cause such a commotion when she had inpressionable little kids at home.”
“Wow. And what did you say to her?” I heard my mother ask.
“I just rolled my eyes and said, you don’t know him and those idiots very well do you?”