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2005 11 18
Hurricane Katrina Miracle Drum

This is a reprint of the letter John Clark, my client, mailed to me with the drum....

Dear Felly,

Well here is the drum. It has taken me longer than I expected as every free moment is spent either cleaning something or throwing it away. Here is the story of the drum and Hurricane Katrina:

On August 28, 2005 at 4 am, I evacuated my home in Arabi, Louisiana (Ground Zero) with my dog, Katie, my brother and my Aunt. Shortly after leaving, I realized that I had forgotten my new Mahogany Ashiko Drum from HandMade Rhythm. The temptation to turn back was thwarted by the potential of being stranded on the highway in gridlock with Hurricane Katrina closing down on us. Well, you know the story of Hurricane Katrina. Displaced about 90 miles away, I saw my area on TV and the 15 feet of water that covered the roof of my house. Everything was lost. For three weeks, I was not able to return to my home as the water was still in the houses from the levees breaking. Shortly after this time, I managed to get to my home for my first view since Katrina. Wow! Everything of value was destroyed by the force of the flood. Ceilings down, windows broken, tv's and refrigerators on the floor, nothing worth retrieving until I came to a pile of rubble. Inside of it I could see what looked like my black bag containing my new ashiko drum. No, I thought, not after being covered in 15 feet of water for three couldn't be? But to my utter surprise, it was my new drum, wet but still intact. The skin was eaten up but the drum [shell] was miraculously still in one piece (see photo). I give you credit that when you make a drum, it IS a solid product that can even survive Hurricane Katrina.

I look forward to having this "Miracle Drum" repaired so I can play my thanks on the banks of the Mississippi River whose waters are peacefully at rest.

John Clark

I am taking care of John's drum at my expense, since I figure he's probably been through enough. The drum shell is being sanded and refinished, and will be freshly skinned with new rope and rings. The rope wouldn't have needed replacing, except that he cut it off before shipping it back. I don't normally warranty my drums for 3 weeks of submersion in 15 feet of salt water under a pile of collapsed ceiling debris, but I grew up along the Gulf Coast in North Florida, and what happened to John could easily happen to my mother and many old friends, so I decided to help the bro out. After all, he told me when he bought the drum, "I just want to feel the rhythm experience, I just want to feel the rhythm, know what I mean?" Yep.