Well, for once, I may have actually gotten a jump on something. Being a violist, we are proverbially late, clueless and short of the mark. We supposedly aren’t good enough to play violin, so we switched to viola and slithered into orchestras by nefarious means. Horse feathers. Unfortunately, I can play the violin, and apparently, well enough to fool stupid people into giving me money to play it, although my preference has always been for the viola, and who wouldn’t want to play viola when you own such a viola as I do. My violins were never nearly as good as my viola. The only kinship they shared is that they were all made of wood, and there the similarities stopped. The violins I owned were mere peons; my viola is a member of the Italian aristocracy, and is eager to let everyone know at every opportunity.
And then there were the “admirer-impersonators”, to be found at every stop we made; from whole families decked out in silver and gold lamé jumpsuits, with flared legs, Beatle boots, or “cockroach killer” shoes and pompadours, teased, combed and sprayed with what looked like flat black paint for outdoor metal furniture, alá Rustoleum, complete with black, eyebrow-pencil mutton-chop sideburns. They all seemed to think we were holding auditions, as we were regaled with everything from impressions of “Thaank yuu, vury mushhh…” to warbling out-of-tune a capella renditions of “Jailhouse Rock”. My personal favorite was the guy from Brazil, who came trotting up to me as I was getting into my car and leaving Sunrise, Florida for Jacksonville, for our next sold-out performance.
As best I could and keeping a straight face, I pointed to a bus in the very back of the parking lot, that had brought in a batch of Q-tipped old bats from the Old Folks' Home and said that was where the “dancers” were. Off he went. This was one of my more memorable tours, playing fiddle, or violin, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.