Foxy's Clarinet



My Grandfather Claggett, whom I never met, played this clarinet. He went to New Orleans to play jazz every Christmas. Notice the lack of keys over the holes. Notice there's less levers than other clarinets. This is called an Albert System clarinet. It plays very well, has a beautiful tone. It's probably about a hundred years old. This clarinet was given to me by Foxy's son, and my Uncle, when I graduated high school.

I'm told that my Grandfather Claggett, Foxy, they called him, was quite the Damon Runyon character. In his life, he owned a pool hall, a beer hall, and a cafe called the KumBak cafe. He loved to bet on the horses at the Kentucky Derby.

When I was a kid and trying to figure out what to do with my life, I would say, "I want to be a veteranerian." "Well, y'know, you'll have to reach your arm all the way up a cow's butt."

"I want to be a doctor." "Well, you'll have to go to school for a long long LONG time."

"I want to be a musician." "Well, you're Grandfather was a great musician. He could hear anything and play it just like that."

Foxy has been dead since 1961. Recently a distant cousin of mine was in an oyster bar in New Orleans. He mentioned something about Foxy Claggett and suddenly a group of old men were buying him drinks all night.

There's several stories about Foxy that I wish someone would write down. I'm told that after he died, a fellow came up to my Mom and told her that Foxy had paid for his college education. Foxy had never told anyone. I'm told Foxy taught my Uncle Paul trigonometry so that he could pass his surveyors test. All this in a little town in Kentucky.

Sure wish I could play the clarinet better.