September 21, 2020

the bow and the fiddle

The year we moved to Santa Fe for Jamie to work in the museums there, I stayed behind in Seattle to continue working for 3 more months. When you are a physician, giving 2 weeks notice is frowned upon. Plus I was waiting for my New Mexico State medical license approval. Jamie moved in April and I was just about to finish up my work after I took the first week of July to go, as usual, to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend. Many people stay in dorms, some with friends in town, but lots camp at Fort Worden and create a mini-universe for a week.

One night, a friend dropped by the campsite to visit with me and my fellow campers. Duane introduced me to his friend Robert, whom he brought along. Duane told me that Robert was an up and coming bow maker and that his bows were award winning. He advised me to buy a bow from him soon because I wouldn’t be able to afford one from him when he became better known.

For all of you fiddlers, violinists, viola players, cellists, and bass players out there, you know that we all have special relationships with our bows. People will often pay more for a bow than their fiddle or violin. I laughed and said that I would remember if I ever got an influx of cash, knowing that we were cash strapped until our Seattle house sold and I got a job in New Mexico.

The week after Fiddle Tunes, I got a call early in the morning from my brother that my mother had died in her sleep that night. I was devastated because one reason I was going to New Mexico was to be closer to where she lived in Texas. Tough to be away from Jamie at that time. Finally I got to Santa Fe a few weeks later. As the estate was sorted out and the life insurance was divided between my brothers and me, I realized I had that influx of cash. Not a lot, but enough to order that bow from Robert. One of the best investments I ever made. And a lovely way to honor my mother. I love that bow.

I write about this now because tonight Jamie and I watched a film about bow makers. It is exquisitely done and a joy to watch. Yes, my bow maker is in it, so proud to have a bow from Robert Morrow. You can watch it through this website or order it for later. Sadly it does end tomorrow at this site but you can order it for later. It is worth it. My gas tank no longer feels as empty as it was when I came home from work after 11 hours.

Summer is fading away, the United States has passed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, We are mourning so many things right now. We all need reminders of the good people out there making beautiful instruments and music and art. For our resilience.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and find beauty.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://watch.showandtell.film/watch/osscs-bowmakers

https://thebowmakersfilm.com/bowmakers

https://centrum.org/festival-of-american-fiddle-tunes-the-workshop/

https://parks.state.wa.us/511/Fort-Worden

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/20/us/covid-deaths.html