Last February I had a little trouble with Morrie's bow. You see when I'm finished playing I always loosen the strings and when it is time to play with Morrie, I tighten the strings. But something went amiss and I could not tighten the strings. I would turn and turn the little knob to no avail. My cello teacher, Linda, recommended a friend of hers named John. So my bow stayed behind to see John the cello doctor and I took home a spare.
John is a fascinating man. He is well into his 80s with big round blue eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, a smattering of white hair hanging in at the top, and a great accent - he sounds like the Count from Sesame Street (ah,ah,ah....). I was prepared for a hefty bill or perhaps the news that a new bow would be required. So when John called me I gritted my teeth for the bad news.
He told me my bow was ready to be picked up and gave me directions to his house. When I got there, his wife, a lovely little doll, was sitting in the corner with her walker nearby, just finishing her dinner.
I wish I could make you hear his accent, but I can't so just try and imagine this being said by the Sesame Street Count.
Me: So, John, how much is it.
J: oh.....$20 should be fine.
Me, aghast, "Really??? Wow, that is great! thanks very much!!"
J;This is not a good bow.....I did what I could with it, but you might want to start saving your pennies for a new one....
Me: Ok, I will
J: You see, a good bow, is like breath to the soprano.
J: No, no, I mean it!!!
Me: Sorry, I believe you, it is just that you said it so beautifully.
That was my introduction to John. I fell in love with him almost immediately. Recently, Morrie had more trouble, this time a little more serious. The tuning pegs at the top had frozen and were immovable. So Morrie himself went in for surgery with John. I was truly prepared for a nasty bill this time but again, John surprised me.
J: I had to use gentle persuasion, tap,tap,tap here, a little tug there. Brute force will not work with a cello. I worked on it last night and on and off all day today.
Me: Thanks again John! So, how much do I owe you?
Me: Here, take $40! I see you added a new nub on the bottom of the pin(mine had broken off).
J: Yes, I used a cork from a bottle of County wine.
Me: Red or White?
J: I don't know, I just drank it!
We continued to chat a little about dogs and the County when I noticed a pen and ink drawing of the London Bridge on his wall.
So I said: My daughter is now living in England, teaching.
John looks at me intently and deeply into my eyes and says: "And you are sitting at home, pining away."
Yup, he nailed it. Not only is John a genius with cellos, he is highly intuitive.
Like I said, I fell in love with him almost immediately.