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After pouring over all of this new information, I called Ugee Postalwait and asked if she could sing me any more of Ed’s songs. I hadn’t been thinking much about Laury Hicks lately and it seemed like a good time to just “check in” on that facet of Ed’s story. It wasn’t long until she was spinning this story that gave me insight into Ed’s ability to take a little melody and make it into a tune.

“One time when I was a little girl, somebody went up or down the road at night a singing, ‘Blue-eyed rabbit went away, the blue-eyed rabbit went to stay. Doodledy-do, doodledy do, doodledy do do doodledy do’,” Ugee said. “So I got up and that’s all I was singing all day long. Ed said, ‘What are you trying to sing?’ I said, ‘I’m a singing ‘Doodledy Doo’.’ Dad and him said, ‘Well it’s got a name. What is it?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ Said, ‘Where’d you hear it?’ I said, ‘I heard it in the night.’ Said, ‘Did you dream it?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t dream it.’ They fooled around with that piece there for weeks trying to play it. When Ed Haley and Dad got done playing that, they had all kinds of runs in that there piece. One’d be a playing it and then the other’n, then they’d bring the different runs in on that song. Someone liked it real well when Ed was a playing it and wanted to know what the name of it was. He said, ‘Well, the one that give me the name of it said it was ‘Doodledy Doo’.’ Ed just laughed and would tell Aunt Rosie about him a playing that piece.”

This story was very interesting since I was starting to formulate this improvable theory that Ed first learned to play fiddle tunes by listening to his mother whistle or hum them. As a young widow who had lost her husband in tragic circumstances, she may well have been determined to pass along some of her beloved’s music to little Ed as best as she could. Of course, he may well have begun playing before Milt’s death, even “sneaking” and playing on his fiddle when his father was out working timber. (I’d had a similar experience with an old fiddle in my grandfather’s closet as a boy.)

I asked Ugee if Ed ever talked about where he learned to play and she said, “He told me about somebody leaving an old fiddle laying around when he was a boy. I don’t remember who the man was.” I told her his father had been a fiddler and asked if maybe he’d meant “my old man left an old fiddle laying around” and she said, “Some old man left an old fiddle laying around and I just wonder if it was his dad. And he picked that up and went to see-sawing on it and he said he found out he could play the fiddle. He said that was all he was good for: to play the fiddle. That’s all he studied. I asked him if he went to school to learn to play the fiddle. He said no.”

I just couldn’t shake the image of Ed playing on Milt’s fiddle. If he hadn’t fooled with it before Milt’s death, maybe he picked it up afterwards (“it was just laying around”) and learned to play with his mother’s help. I had these images of Emma whistling or singing Milt’s tunes to him and saying, “Yeah, do that.” “Don’t do that.” I got chills thinking about the way Ed may have began learning tunes and the way I used to ask Lawrence, “Did he do this?” “Did he play this?” Or the way he would say to me, “Pop didn’t do it like that.”