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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Night Owl MudCat Thank You - Part II (99* d) RE: MudCat Thank You - Part II 08 Apr 02


I'm having major trouble trying to find the words for this next "chapter"...about my instruments....gratitude tears keep coming....like Sinsull and the coffee mug.....gratitude tears for having survived "stuff", gratitude tears for being able to rebuild a life and gratitude tears for all of the support from my community here AND the Mudcat community....and for being able to tell this story to a MUSIC community that can understand it..

Waaaaaayyyy up top there, I mentioned that my daughter had taken my burnt records and burnt instruments to her house. She put all of it in her garage. The records she didn't get were the ones I played a lot. They were off the bookshelf and sitting on top of my stereo. The records I'm working on cleaning now, were crammed into the bookshelf so tightly that the fire didn't burn the ones in the middle...melted some...but some will be ok and playable when I'm done. Sandy and Caroline's album was one of the ones sitting on top of my stereo.....and I have NO explanation for how it came to be at the bottom of the HUGE pile in the yard......the ONLY one I found that had been off the shelf.

My instruments were part of the "who" of myself, and I had enough of a variety of them to match whatever mood I happened to be in. Three of them had become "special" friends over the years..my guitar, dulcimer and autoharp.

We found no trace of the fiddles, banjo and banjo-mandolin......but my daughter had the rest in her garage.....black. It's odd, sometimes, how our instincts can protect us IF we listen. I looked...saw charred wood....and left them there...in her garage, because something was yelling in my brain...."NOT NOW!". I went on to deal with the chaos and basic survival stuff.

A few months later, we put the instruments in garbage bags and brought them into a music store to get estimates on their replacement costs. The owner of the store took one look into the bags and ordered us out of the store......he didn't want my instruments "contaminating" the new instruments he had hanging on the walls for sale. A rational thing for him to do..but I somehow took it personally....and felt banished from life.

We stood......outside in the rain and wind, under the awning, and pulled black instruments out of the bags. And then I REALLY learned...that there was NO dollar value for the fullness and sweet tones these instruments had.......and NO dollar value for all of those years these "misfit" instruments brought me comfort.....and brought smiles to so many other people...young and old. I DID already know that...but in the world of loss and insurance fights, somehow, momentarily, forgot.

The store owner asked if I wanted him to dispose of the instruments. Being someone who does NOT say good-bye to good friends easily, I said "no" and left.....in tears, with the bags of "verified" worthless instruments.

At the time, I was living in the small apartment. It has a tiny room/closet which became my "burn" room. I put the instruments and albums in there...and closed the door.

That night, I clung to the Mudcat Hear-Me room, which.....thankfully....was full. I said nothing about the kind of day I had....just that I was REALLY grateful that the room was open. Jon (at the time from Wales) sang "Donkey Riding" (AGAIN) for me....alison (from Australia) played her wonderful drum (AGAIN) when I asked; Kat (from Wyoming)sang "Prairie Lullabye" AGAIN when I asked, and Paul(from British Columbia) sang a bunch of Bill Staines' songs that brought me comfort. Mary (in Kentucky) and I were being the "appreciative audience" and the "performers" were all making us feel welcome AND making it clear to us....that audiences are NECESSARY! bg

Mudcatters were popping in and out of the room, playing incredible music for hours, and I held to the music TIGHT. After a while, my tears were gone. I was....and continue to be..... in awe of the global expanse and quality of this Mudcat community and it's kindness.

Later that same night, I asked Paul and alison if they would try a "drum duet" .....and they DID!! Just amazing to me....taking turns with their drums and singing the verses and chorus .... Australia and Canada.
When they finished, not only were my tears gone....but my giggle was back.

THANK-YOU ALL.......for helping me put the horror of that day behind me and refilling my cup with your music and friendships.


That was the "bad" news about my instruments.....there is GOOD, EXCITING news.......


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