In search of story

December 31.20: Coping


A wink, perhaps,

lightly nefarious:

above the noble


the truth is stamped,

hidden slyly —

“Copy” — by luthier

deft and wily.


I think it was no coincidence that 2020 was the year I attended to my father’s violin, which I had allowed to fall into disreputable condition. I’d needed some sense of grounding, of continuity, in a year of such cataclysmic instability. I had it repaired and renewed for my grandson this Christmas, and there was indeed grounding. This was the instrument my father played in his grade school orchestra, circa 1925.


The one he played in our family Christmas concerts (a merry barnyard kind of sound) and introduced to his grandson circa 1977.


The one I rescued from my own shameful neglect and presented — in its well-worn KantKrack case, beribboned and (it seemed to me) proud — to his great-grandson this Christmas.

A violin doesn’t have to be a Stradivarius to be priceless. And 2020 has made us acutely more mindful of the priceless things that ground us.

Thank you, dear reader, for all your encouragement and insights this year. May the new year bring us all the repair, renewal, and tuning we need, may we be grounded in the priceless things of life, may we be mindful of those who grieve and who care for our sick, and may there one day again be real hugs!



14 thoughts on “December 31.20: Coping

  1. Maureen, this is a beautiful, heartfelt, and very timely post. It brought tears, but good ones as I think of that violin being passed down in your family. ❤️ I’m not normally a person who cries, but this has been a year so when I read this lovely post, it just got to me. You certainly knew how to close out this year with best wishes full of hope for “repair, renewal, and tuning.” Perfect!

    • Thank you, Judy, for these words and for many things throughout the year. I do know what you mean. I’ve found myself with a lump in my throat more often than usual lately, and it surely has to do with the sense of loss and, yes, anger. They are two sides of the same coin this year. We’re entitled to some tears.

  2. What a cool thing to do – a wonderful gift! Happy New Year!

  3. What a wonderful way to end the year. Pulls on my heart strings. Your blogs over this terrible year have been such a bright spot for me. Thank you dear friend.

    • Thank you, old friend. Since you knew Dad, I can believe there might have been a little tug on your heart strings. I know you have the same kinds of priceless belongings, too. And thank you for all your encouragements.

  4. Your father would be so pleased, wouldn’t he? What a wonderful gift. Happy and healthy 2021!

    • Thank you! A very happy and healthy year to you too! And you are so right about Dad — he’d be popping all his buttons!

  5. What a beautiful gift to pass down! May its voice continue to sing out and provide connection through the generations. I too, have so appreciated the connection through your posts this past long, arduous year. May we connect through hugs someday soon! Happy New Year, Maureen.

    • Thank you, Tamara! A long, arduous year indeed. I can barely imagine the luxury of a real hug — what a lovely thought! A very happy new year to you, too, and to your two partners in the arts!

  6. Amen to all your mays. Your grandson will be very happy to have his great grandad’s instrument – how lovely it is that he has inherited the family love of music. I hope they all have your insight too!

    • Thank you! I too hope he will be happy with Dad’s instrument; I was really excited about the work done on it. When my grandchildren said they were going to be in orchestra as they went into middle school, I was ecstatic — if it weren’t for the music, I’d never have the slightest notion what they were talking about!

      • It must be nice to have that to share. My Mum and sister have quite different musical tastes to me. We were laughing about that earlier today, or rather I was.

      • I rush to add that my grandchildren and I have vastly different ideas of music, but at least now we all know what a quarter note is!

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