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Dave Swan 03 Nov 99 - 07:02 PM
katlaughing 03 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM
catspaw49 04 Nov 99 - 10:04 AM
Bert 04 Nov 99 - 01:45 PM
WyoWoman 04 Nov 99 - 04:20 PM
catspaw49 07 Nov 99 - 12:56 PM
Dave Swan 07 Nov 99 - 05:38 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 07 Nov 99 - 06:02 PM
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Subject: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: Dave Swan
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 07:02 PM


El Swanno just pulled up in front of the house in the big shiny red ambulance, and after he peeled me off of him, he insisted I help him unload a package from the back before we drive the rig back to the station.

He opened the back doors, and there on the gurney was a GENUINE CATSPAW DULCIMER!!! It's BEAUTIFUL, and I'm sooo tickled to have an instrument made by you. More than that, Dave tells me this dulcimer has been a companion of yours for years. That makes it very precious to me.

And what a good secret keeper you are you little stinker! He said he asked you to make one for me months ago so that he could pick it up while he was on the road visiting with you. That means you KNEW all this time and never let on, on the phone or on the 'Cat!!! You'll NEVER make it as a woman.

Now I'll have to figure out how to post a picture of it for all of you to see. In my severely techno-challenged state, that may take a while-- but it's beautiful, with two catspaws cut in the sounding board and a very sweet tone. I can't wait to learn.

One last note, then I have to go and pick Dave up at the station (he went ahead without me so I could jump on the MudCat and gush). Included with the instrument was a great book on how to play, including several tunes, the first one of which I am officially working on.... THE WHITE COCKADE!!! (See "BS: Possum arrives" thread)

Thank you so much, dear 'Spaw-- I'm off to pick Dave up at the station and bring him home. Maybe I'll let him up for air later on tonight so he can get on the MudCat and say howdy hissown self.

xoxo ping-ping-ping


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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Nov 99 - 08:08 PM

WOW! Sounds great, La Swanna! Sounds like the "Good" Spaw has struck, again! Little cats' paws in the sounding board?? I AM jealous!**BG** What great plotters they both were. Congratulations!

BTW, Dave said for those of us out West to not send the postcards until the 6th. I thought they were all supposed to get there before him! So, do I still send it out on the 6th??

Hey! You're steaming up my screen! El Swanno wait a minute! You two get back here! We wanna hear all about the great postal fraud!



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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 10:04 AM

Thanks Pam...Glad you're enjoying it.......I'll tell you the story later on after I recover from last night's supper with Mick.........If Dave had been there I would never have made it home even late last night!


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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: Bert
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 01:45 PM

Quit braggin' yer looky booga. (As Bill Sables might say)

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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: WyoWoman
Date: 04 Nov 99 - 04:20 PM

This is so cooool!

Hey, Spaw, how IS the Big Mick, anyways?


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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 12:56 PM

Dear Pam,

Since I don't trust your husband, as he would lie when the truth sounds better, let me finally get around to telling you the story of that particular Hammered Dulcimer.

About 4 years ago, I had this wonderful piece of mahogany which I had milled for HD soundboards. The taptone was just wonderful. I realized that I had enough for "almost three" tops and I assembled two....but the third was a stretch. I had four 16/15 bodies and one spruce, two good mahogany, and one "not quite" top of mahogany also. The three mahogany sisters all came out OK, except I had to fudge a bit on the third(the one you now have). As I was going through the finishing process, the third sister developed two cracks in the top and I could see that it wasn't going to make it. But, I thought, "What the Hell? It might play and sound OK anyway. I can fix the one crack and the other will never get worse. I'll keep it to drag around and play it at home. Beats using it for firewood."

So I didn't do a couple of the final stages, stuck a piece of veneer on the sides instead of rounding them, and only rubbed it out about half as much. When I strung them all, the "poor sister" sounded about as good as her siblings and I felt kinda' bad that I hadn't spent any more time on her. But the others went to buyers in Ohio and W.Va. and she stayed here and went through hell. I rarely covered this one and took it to all kinds of street fairs and school programs where the kids would merrily whang away. It has been played in 95 degrees standing on the asphalt.....and in the rain. Indeed, one snowy evening, we stood outside an artsy-fartsy group of shops in Worthington playing Christmas tunes and "creating atmospere" while going crazy with the tuning wrench. Gawd, hadda' night that was. In any case, she never seemed to complain much and took all the abuse I gave her.

When Dave asked about purchasing one from me for you, I wasn't in a position to get one done in time. By the spring, things ought to be back to the point where I'm turning some out on a regular basis again...but not now. But I got to thinking that this one might do you as one to learn on. I hope you enjoy it....just don't tell anyone that its representative of what I build! Glad she finally has a good home.


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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: Dave Swan
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 05:38 PM

Dearest Patspaw,

Cast not thy aspersions upon my velveteen dulcimer. I love it all the more for having its fur rubbed off and missing one eye. All available fairy tail philosophy supports my preference for the sister who tended the cinders because she was not as lovely as her siblings, the wooden creation who longed to be a real boy, the ugly duckling....

I am not waiting for something better to come along, I have found the hammered dulcimer of my heart and would trade her for no other. One day I'd love to see the instruments which represent the work you're most proud of, I am sure they are magnificent pieces. But none could be more precious to me than the one little hands have happily explored, the one that has made music in the rain and snow and bounced on a gurney for 3,000 miles to find its way to me.

I will tell those to whom I show her off, that she is not the prime example of her makers craft. But that will be a tiny footnote to the story of how she, and you, came into our life.

She, and the music she makes, will always remind me of the friends and loved ones like her. Those who didn't come out exactly as we wished they had, but we love them anyway. Those who didn't get the best breaks when they started out, but their cracks and lack of finish don't prevent them from being wonderful in their way. We're aware of their flaws, but in the end they're the ones we can trust at our side in all kinds of weather. When we realize how good they've been to us, we may wish we'd spent more time on them, helping them be their best. But sooner or later we figure out that the things we love most in them are wrapped up in who they are, not in how close they came to perfection. At least that's how I want to be loved.

I guess I'm getting pretty sappy here, but I'm dead dog serious about my love for this instrument, exactly as it is. Maybe BECAUSE of how it is. And I wouldn't change a wrinkle or a crack or a day of her history. Or ours.

Warmly yours,


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Subject: RE: I have a CATSPAW DULCIMER!!!
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 07 Nov 99 - 06:02 PM

Pam, so how long will it be before you play it to accompany your song at the Starry Plough? I can't wait to see and hear it.

By the way, Patsclaw, one form of abuse to which you didn't submit (or didn't admit submitting) the dulcimer to was loaning it to Cletus. I don't think it would have survived that.

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