I chose to use this image as the cover of my book because I believed that more than any other picture in the sketchbook, it most closely captured the true essence of my brother. He was a simple person, but not in the sense that he wasn’t intelligent. To the contrary, he was very bright. But simple in the regard that he didn’t need a lot to make him happy, simple in that he was so beautifully uncomplicated, and simple in that he was very down to earth and the opposite of pretentious.
The following passage is from Chapter Ten of The Bird that Sang in Color when Donna first sees this picture: “I turned the page to find what may have been my favorite. He was dressed in all black, playing a fiddle beneath a smiling crescent moon with a bottle of Jack Daniels at his feet. I could hear him calling himself a fiddler, making clear the distinction between a fiddler and a violin player. I could hear him playing in the kitchen of my old home as Mom kept beat while cooking. I could see his fingers dancing effortlessly on the fretboard. I could feel the joy he had from making music—a joy that could never be taken from him.”