In Tune: A fiddle bow and faith in humanity restored

In Tune: A fiddle bow and faith in humanity restored

April 10th, 2014 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

Mystery solved.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column lamenting the loss of my great-grandfather's bow, which someone seemingly made off with during my band's St. Patrick's Day show at The Honest Pint. After a thorough investigation of the venue by me and a dozen others, it seemed lost for good.

The story seemed to strike a chord. People stopped me in the street and sent sympathetic emails asking if the bow had resurfaced. Other musicians commiserated with my plight. My brother and girlfriend both offered to buy a replacement.

Last week, however, I reclaimed my bow and learned who was really to blame for the supposed theft. The culprit, as it turns out, was me.

Without getting too caught up in the details, I discovered that there's a hole in the stage used to run cable. That hole happens to be near where I place my instruments during shows. Despite being slightly smaller than a fist, the gap is more than wide enough to cause trouble.

On St. Patrick's Day, I somehow placed my great-grandfather's bow, if not directly in the hole, then perilously close to it. Embarrassingly, the reason I know this is because I lost another bow in exactly the same way during our most recent show.

When we took the stage last week, I was wary of further mischief, especially since I was using a replacement bow lent to me by the Folk School of Chattanooga. In the middle of our set, I needed to switch instruments and leaned the bow against the stage's knee-high railing. A split second later, I looked back only to watch the last few inches of its wooden length slide beneath the floor.

Seeing that, I immediately knew my first bow had suffered a similar fate, suggesting that it was safe and - presumably - recoverable. I felt an immediate rush of relief, even as my frontman subjected me to a bit of good-natured public mockery for his and the audience's amusement.

After the show, I improvised a hook out of a pair of clothes hangers and fished both bows out without issue.

So what grand lesson of life has this taught me? In this case, it wasn't so much a lesson learned as a faith reinforced.

I've always liked to think people are naturally good, and the supposed theft of my bow shook that belief. Discovering that I was the victim of my own inattentiveness has renewed my confidence in humanity, and I am as thankful to have that back as I am to have recovered an irreplaceable heirloom.

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205.