Mudcat Café message #2339089 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111039   Message #2339089
Posted By: GUEST,GUEST, Laura Sailer
13-May-08 - 06:29 AM
Thread Name: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008)
Subject: RE: Obit: Dick Rodgers, FSGW Institution (May 2008)
Following in Dick's tradition I make a short story long:
Little did I know that night when I first met the Cathedral Avenue Cacophony that the guy with the guitar, to whom Dick had introduced me, would eventually become my (second) husband and the father of my two kids.

    At that time I was about the marry Dave Laning, who later said of Dick and the Cathedral Avenue Cacophony "When I first met Dick Rodgers, he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket... He has since found himself a bucket."

    He was always talking us into adding a new song to our repertoire. It was especially challenging when Dick would sing the song to me and expect me to learn it from hearing his rendition. I think part of Peter's record collection was purchased out of self defense for that learning curve. But one way or another we'd work up song after song. Dick, hurdy gurdy in hand, liked to refer to himself as "the ramrod of this organization." Another nick-name he earned at our rehearsals was "fourdammit!" It always amazed me with as many times as Dick had jitterbugged or waltzed me around a dance floor (or any horizontal space where he was able to stand -- including the Nicholses' living room at a crowded party before the enlarged their house) that his sense of rythm did not carry over into his singing or fiddling. I often wondered if he'd get the fourth beat if he danced while playing, but I guess that would be like chewing gum and walking at the same time; some folks just can't manage it.

Several years later my sister Janice joined us to gain admission to the Rennaissance Festival (when it was in Columbia). Janice, who sings but doesn't play, would keep up a little patter during the dead time while we were all fussing with our instruments. "Most performers at this point begin telling tuning jokes... but we ARE a tuning joke." Peter and I had the Cacophony take part musically in our wedding and did not regret it.

   Dick was always broke and prided himself on making due with scavenged materials for instrument "repairs." Some friends of his (Bob Clayton? Don Nichols?) made him his first hurdy gurdy, which was actually a rather nice instrument when it started out, sufficient that someone stole it. Dick, while substituting in the Montg'y County Public Schools for some income, cobbed one together in wood shop; a little more sophisticated than a cigar box strung with rubber bands, but not much better sounding. Later in woodshop he attempted to make instrument he'd seen in Groves' Dictionary of Music called a Trombamarine (among other things) At the Rennaissance Festival the Lowde Consort walked by one afternoon and one of them exclaimed "my god, that's a trombamarine!" and then, after a second glance, "no, it's not." I hesitate to think what materials he might have used to maintain the violin he's had on loan from us since he had to hock his fiddle a decade or so ago, (or for that matter, if we'll ever see the instrument again,) but the thought of Dick Rodgers without a fiddle was almost as inconceiveable as FSGW without Dick.