Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fiddler on the Route

We had our good friends Ray, Michele and Maria over for dinner the other night.  Good times!  I made my patented lasagna and then threatened to demonstrate my patented pull-out-the-tablecloth-while-everything-stays-on-the-table bit, but at the last minute, I was overcome by an attack of good sense and settled for merely yanking out the napkin, leaving my knife and spoon right where they belonged.

That's the kind of thing that only works on TV, anyway, that tablecloth trick.  In real life, you try that and the gravy goes splattering all over a guest's bodice, and the tumblers filled with water go tumbling all over.  Maybe that's why they call them "tumblers."

But nature has a way of making things even.  So what, if you can't count on that working.  Here's something I can guarantee will work every time:  Bet your buddy that within six months, a story just like this will appear in his local fishwrap: (from the Canadian National Post:)

Lost $170,000 violin returned to Boston music student after being left on bus

By Eric Johnson

Christmas came early for a Boston music student who was reunited with the $170,000 violin she forgot in the overhead compartment of a regional commuter bus she rode last week, police said.

Muchen Hsieh, a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston, had traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, arriving at roughly 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

Christine O’Brien, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia police, who helped Hsieh track down the missing instrument, said then came a moment of sheer panic for the student.

O’Brien said Hsieh realized she had forgotten the instrument after she was picked up from the bus station. She blamed her absent-mindedness on travel fatigue.

Hsieh called the bus company, Megabus, roughly 30 minutes after she arrived but the bus had already left the Philadelphia station, O’Brien said. Hsieh also notified police, making a plea for the instrument’s recovery, O’Brien said.

The 176-year-old instrument, on loan to Hsieh from a Taiwanese cultural foundation, was found by bus cleaners in the same compartment in which Hsieh left it. They put it in storage, and police returned it to Hsieh on Friday.

Hsieh joins the ranks of esteemed musicians who have mislaid or forgotten their valuable and sometimes priceless instruments. World renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma once left his in a cab.

One German string player required medical attention from the stress caused when he left his violin, worth roughly US$1.4-million, on a commuter train in 2010.

It is not unusual for students at Hsieh’s school to have such valuable instruments, Ellen Pfeifer, spokeswoman for the New England Conservatory, told the Boston Globe.

The violin, which is in pristine condition, was made in 1835 by Vincenzo Jorio in Naples.
Somewhere, the ghost of Vincenzo Jorio is hollering "Che stupida!" and ordering Neapolitan ice cream.  I see these Megabus disgorging their passengers down by the mall and most of them have had a nice ride for a dollar.  How many of them left their fiddles in the overhead compartment, up there rolling around by last Friday's New York POST and an couple of empty Snapple bottles and Bachman's Old Style Dutch Pretzel boxes?  

We have an epidemic of forgetful musicians, and I feel a lot of symphony for them...perhaps we could orchestrate some sort of fund-raiser...

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