We have a little joke around here about the dulcimer coming before the duvet. Call us strange, but when we were first married we had more musical gear than furniture. Our first apartment was a little four room duplex with a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen with yellow linoleum and a living room. Our entire domain was rented for the grand sum of $200, which we knew we could manage to pay every month. We had no TV or entertainment center, just a radio for listening to football, a card table to eat our meals at and a mattress on the floor for a bed…and we were happy that way. I remember that along the living room wall, where most people would probably have placed a couch, we had two keyboards set up and the amplification necessary to enjoy them. (Donna and I both played piano growing up.) Crazy kids!
We both loved music, knew we wanted to enjoy it together and were certain that any instrument we bought was worth any short-term sacrifice required. We were pining for a dulcimer and had heard of a store that carried a few, but had no idea how we were going to get together enough money to buy one. (We used to be so happy when we had a spare $1.25 to walk to Whataburger down the road to share a big brown bag of salty fries, and that was our luxury after paying the bills!) SO how would we save for this big instrument that neither one of us knew how to play?
Well, wouldn’t you know, God stepped in with a supernatural miracle! In December Donna’s parents gave us money as a combination wedding and Christmas present! With pure excitement we hopped into our little Ford Taurus and drove up the winding roads to a small shop in the mountains of Arkansas to buy our first hammered dulcimer. We walked through the doors of this dim little store, packed front to back with lap dulcimers, penny-whistles, banjos, guitars and sheet music. And there she was! A Dusty Strings D10 with a pretty spruce top. So shiny and sweet! So many strings! Such delicate hammers! We were in love. And we had just enough. We drove home with that gorgeous trapezoid of wood and strings resting on the back seat and our hearts full.
Now we had only one question, which corner of the living room to put her in??