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Tom Chaney: Heavenly Music

Of Writers And Their Books: Heavenly Music. Tom thinks listening to old time music is just about what heaven will have to be for him to put up with it. This column first appeared 31 January 2010.
The next earlier Tom Chaney column: Fare Thee Well, Robert Parker

By Tom Chaney

Heavenly Music

Every now and again I slither over into matters theological and eschatological. This is one of those times. It is like the proverbial slippery slope that politicians accuse their opponents of sliding down.

A couple of Thursday nights ago I braved thunderous wind and rain to go over Main to the Thomas House for "Picking on the Porch" which, of course, was not on the porch but inside.

For several third Thursdays Dave Foster of the Horse Cave Underground has put together this musical event on behalf of the Horse Cave Cultural District.

I thunk me the thought that sitting there listening to old time music is just about what heaven will have to be for me to put up with it -- if I can get there.

I have already decided that harp music is out. A little Celtic harp is fine, but one of those big things will cause irreversible trauma -- and for eternity?


Just give me what we had the other night at the Thomas House -- two or three guitars, a fiddle or two, a Dobro no less, a mandolin, one of those big bass things -- and eternity would be just about long enough.

Of course we must consider ambrosia, said to be heavenly fare.

At all the church suppers, down at the salad end, there was always a dish full of marshmallows, canned fruit cocktail, and shredded coconut that folks called ambrosia. I generally noticed that a lot of it got carried back home.

Baptists, I reckon, don't fancy too much practice for the hereafter, if that's what they think ambrosia really is.

Ambrosia to my mind was further down the table.

Ambrosia is essentially a Greek term. It is what the gods eat. In the most arcane and ancient texts there is a recipe from the chief cook at Parnassus.

It seems he keeps a little pen out back where the divine fowl flutter about. When he is ready to fix ambrosia for Zeus after a rough day of checking about with Venus and her crowd, the cook has Hephaestus stoke up the brazier and heat up the olive oil while one of the kids catches a fair fowl.

Hephaestus plucks it, singes the pin feathers off. The cook then cuts it asunder and drops it in celestial flour.

When the oil is hot, he plunges the pieces in and lets them fry good and brown while he makes biscuits and gravy.

Now it takes about the same time to fry chicken as it does to play a set of music. And that's it -- for eternity -- fiddle music, guitar and mandolin, the occasional Dobro with ambrosia in the break.

And I'm aiming to be there.

If I can't get a front row seat, maybe I can wrangle a job in the kitchen where I can hear the music. Surely I can slip a gizzard or two out of the skillet from time to time.

If not, then it's off to the other place -- toasted marshmallows, singed fruit cocktail, and blackened coconut -- nothing but banjo music while eternity drags along.

But -- until that time -- Uncle Dave aims to keep up the Thursday night sessions at the Thomas House. He has talked of a weekly gathering instead of a monthly one.

This may be as close to heaven as many of us will get.

Don't waste it.

Editorial Note: ‘Dobro’ is a registered TradeMark.

Tom Chaney can be found telling stories, planning his next meal, and occasionally selling books at
Box 73 / 111 Water Street
Horse Cave, Kentucky 42749
Email: Tom Chaney -

This story was posted on 2015-02-01 04:56:16
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