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Emily Grossman

'It Caught Fire and Burned'

August 26, 2010 at 5:44 AM

Before I can relate the next segment of my journey, I must first go back to Alaska, to the Peninsula Summer Music Festival.  This festival is one I usually skip, simply because it has always been scheduled right in the middle of the busiest week of cooking all summer: hockey camp.  (Whoever can stomach a 9+ hour shift on concrete, slamming out multiple baked goods for 250+ hungry hockey players, and then manage to drive 1 1/2 hours each evening to attend a three hour rehearsal is beyond me.)  But even if I was in fact superwoman, I would not wile away the precious daylight hours in a plastic chair, staring at the back of someone else's head.  As much as I love Brahms, Beethoven, and the like, I refuse to devote my love and my summertime to anything but the outdoors.

This year, however, hockey camp was rescheduled, and several rental groups split last second, leaving most of August vacant.  Not only that, but the nonstop rain had executed all my outdoor events.  I had nothing else but the summer music festival to attend. 

Here's how this ties into the story:  I had this bow, you see.  It needed rehairing, so I gave it to XXXX, who was a XXXX XXXX from XXXX.  (I happen to respect and admire XXXX, and think he's a great guy, so I will keep this part as anonymous as possible.)  On Friday the 13th,  I took my seat just before our performance, and the man who was going to return my freshly rehaired bow rushed up to me, squatted down, and in hushed tones informed me,

"There was an accident involving your bow, and it caught fire and burned." 

It was not salvageable.  Yes, I was full of as much disbelief as you are--probably more.  The reaction I gave, though, was not likely what was expected.  I couldn't help but think it was one of the funnier things I'd heard, so I burst out laughing.  Looking back, I can see that this may have been inappropriate, since the man had nearly caught flames and burned as well, and still has nightmares about it to this day.  But who knew bow rehairs could end so unfortunately?  (Note: the fumes of denatured alcohol will catch fire if a flame is introduced to a room lacking proper ventilation.) 

Luckily, the bow was covered under his business' insurance.  Luckily, I had a backup bow.  And luckily, I was never that attached to the charred victim in the first place.  Not to sound heartless, but to me it had always seemed a bit like a mail-order spouse--tidy, diligent, and agreeable, and possessing little personality whatsoever.  It was of the finest quality, but nevertheless, our relationship had been strictly professional.  What's more is, in the time that I'd had the bow, its value had appreciated by 40%.  (Note: for solid investment purposes, choose a modern French bow.)

At the moment the bow was leaving its carbon footprint, I had been hovering over the computer keyboard, bidding on my Subaru in Connecticut on Ebay.  So this is how I won a car, lost a bow, and set off on a road trip to pick up a new car...  and, a new bow, all in one fell swoop.

Next stop, Philadelphia.


From Tom Holzman
Posted on August 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM

Oy!  You were lucky that there was insurance.  Perhaps you can find a better bow to which you will become more attached than the previous one.  Good luck and have a safe road trip.


From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 26, 2010 at 11:09 PM

What a story, I'm glad your luthier was okay! I hope you'll tell us about your bow hunt, I could use a new one myself!


From sharelle taylor
Posted on August 27, 2010 at 8:10 AM

 "At the moment the bow was leaving its carbon footprint..."

You're brilliant.

Thankyou for giving the back story on your road trip.


From Bill Busen
Posted on August 28, 2010 at 4:03 AM
Now see, this is why we missed you.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on August 28, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Aw, thanks!

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