90-Year-Old Fiddler Won't Change Tempo

Deep in the Ozarks, you'll find a rare 90-year-old Violet. Actually, as CBS News correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reports, you'll hear Violet Hensley before you see her.

If her hands seem to resemble the fiddle she plays, it's because one made the other.

Violet makes fiddles by hand — bending, carving and testing them out in her kitchen, just as she's done for years. The last CBS reporter she entertained was a guy named Charles Kuralt some 30 years ago.

Since then, she hasn't quit or even slowed down. She says she thinks she's made 73 fiddles.

"I could have made a lot more than them that if I'd have left of this kind and gardening and canning, and cutting the neighbor's hair, sewing for the men and women," Violet explains.

Doctors ordered Violet to stop breaking horses and riding bareback. So she took up clogging. She performs five days a week.

In her free time, she says she "talks." But her mouth is sharper than her eyes.

Her hands guide her work now, and her heart. She sells the fiddles for about $2,000 — a fraction of what they're worth.

"People keep telling me I ought to get more for them. I said, 'Well, the rest of the pleasure comes out of knowing I made it,'" Violet explains.

She refuses to slow down. "No, you don't slow down till you have to," she says.

For some of us, a change in tempo is completely out of the question.

  • Melissa McNamara

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