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Frank The Fiddler

When I was young, my mother tried to encourage me to learn to play a musical instrument. I took guitar and piano lessons, but I didn’t have the drive that it takes to be successful. Now I wish I had tried harder. Of course, it’s never too late—my friend Frank is proof of that.

When Frank was just a little boy he decided he wanted to be a fiddle player. He took some lessons, but soon lost interest. Then years later he found himself unemployed with extra time on his hands. He decided it was time to take his fiddle out and dust it off. He purchased some how-to tapes and rosined up his bow. Frank will be the first to tell you he’s not a great fiddle player, but he loves the fiddle and the music and doesn’t mind sharing it with others.

Not long ago I invited him to play for my son’s fifth-grade class. They had been reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, hearing about Laura’s pa, who played the fiddle. I thought it would be fun to talk about the book and then show them the type of music Laura’s pa played for her and her siblings. Frank agreed to perform and I worked out the details with the teacher. I’m not sure who enjoyed Frank’s fiddling more—me, the teacher, or the kids. All I know is that there was a room full of toe-tapping, smiling people.

Frank’s time off from the work force also inspired him to make another change in his life: he went back to college and soon he’ll be a teacher himself.

I know a lot of people like Frank who wake up one day and say, “I want to do something different,” and so they make a change. When my friend Debbie’s two children were old enough to go to school, Debbie went back and got her nursing degree. “It was hard taking classes when the kids were so little, but now I’m glad I did it,” she says.

Whether it’s playing the fiddle or changing careers, it’s never too late for dreams to come true, as long as we’re willing to do more than just dream.

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