What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Effing Fife August 20, 2016

I’m having problem writing a blog for you all at the moment. Mostly because I have awesome writerly news that I can’t tell you, and it’s all I can think of.

So, right.

Here’s a good story for you. The Story of the Effing Fife. My husband has an admirable life goal to learn to play as many instruments as possible. He can play the piano, the guitar, the ukulele, the mandolin, and the effing fife.

He never set out to play the fife. Never had a hankering for a fife in his life, but now he can!

We were doing a show near Gettysburg, PA, and there was a big Civil War reenactment going on. My mom was in town, and since we did a bunch of reenactments when I was growing, we decided to go. It was a fairly decent reenactment; there was singing and food, and my husband was fairly entertained for the most part. But when we started looking at the costumes and textiles, he got a little bored.

So my mom, trying to be awesome, bought my husband a fife to keep him occupied while we looked at corsets. He, being him, figured out how to play a few notes in seconds and then found an actual fife player to show him how to play them better. By the end of the day he was walking around the reenactment playing the Harry Potter theme. Yes, it was just as dorky as it sounds.

It was great for an afternoon activity, and I thought that would be the end of it. I was so, so very wrong. The fife disappeared for a while, and then one day, out of our bedroom came the Harry Potter theme on the fife again. Then he began expanding his repertoire. Not with a book, or YouTube, just learning by ear on the fife, which is impressive, but there’s a fife in my life.

And he’ll just whip it out at the most random times. We’re living with new roommates in cast housing, and when you least expect it, out comes the fife. The new roomies’ eyes get wide as they wonder if they’ve slipped into some weird dream, and I have to explain that no, no, my husband does travel with a fife and you just have to let him play it. There are no other fifing choices.

He’s used it for cabaret performances a few times, and occasionally it’ll disappear and I’ll wonder if the fifing days are over.

But then when you least expect it the effing fifing begins anew. And Harry Potter’s melody plays. Deep down I like when he plays the fife. He gets so excited trying to play a new song by ear. And it doesn’t take up any room when we pack. And if ever the rats should invade, I have my own pied piper. But still, that fife though.


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