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Chuck Hinman: IJMA 163 - Don't Borrow Keepsakes

It's Just Me Again, No. 163 : Don't Borrow Keepsakes
The next earlier Chuck Hinman column: Chuck Hinman, IJMA: Kissing in my family

By Chuck Hinman

Don't borrow keepsakes

Hardly anyone escapes the ultimate embarrassment of borrowing something "precious" from a close friend and then losing or breaking it before its return.

In the early days of TV, there was a hit series "Candid Camera" with Allen Funt in which they carried out this theme. For example, a jeweler trying to explain that he dis-assembled the customer's watch and forgot how to re-assemble it as he hands the bag of watch parts to the appalled customer. Or the dry cleaning clerk apologizing for the scorch mark on the back of the bride's gown that had just been brought in for a "hasty" press job!


This is our family's ultimate embarrassment.In 1935, Dad's and Mom's good friends, Roy and Pearl Rice of Blue Springs, Nebraska, encouraged our family to take (borrow) Roy's cornet to see if I enjoyed playing it well enough that buying a new cornet wouldn't be a "risky decision."

What a wonderful gesture from old school friends at Blue Springs High about 1910ish, nearly a century ago.

Roy had played this cornet many times in the landmark bandstand in the popular Blue Springs park. In later years, Roy was too busy raising daughter Loretta and running the family general store in Blue Springs, to spend any time with his cornet. So it just sat gathering dust until the Hinmans took (borrowed) it for me to try it to see if I was a budding Doc Severinsen.

In the mid-1930s Liberty, Nebraska, was organizing a community band with a band director from Marysville, Kansas. Dad and Mom had sacrificed to buy brother Bob a shiny new French horn and he (Bob) was doing remarkably well on it. So it wasn't too much a stretch of the imagination to think that I might "take" to the cornet.

Well, it didn't happen. But before we returned it, a terrible thing happened.

It wasn't unusual when the horn wasn't being played for a short period to lay it in the open, velvet-lined case with the mouthpiece extended a few inches outside the case. But not every cornet player gets in a scrap with his jerk brother as often as I did. Bob knocked me backwards over the case cramming the lid down and breaking off the front four inches of the cornet! Oh my!

Several months after the cornet came back from being repaired (it would never look the same with that horrible bulge) I shamefully handed Mr. Rice his horn and tried to apologize -- as best a thirteen year old boy could -- for what happened. I was mortified but as I remember, he mustered a smile, hugged me, and seemingly "blew it off."

I never became a cornet player but some remember when I was a pretty decent piano-organ player. See Story 114 -- "Music in My Life."

Somewhere in the Wymore, Blue Springs, Liberty, Nebraska, area there must be a kid playing an old cornet with an ugly repaired place just ahead of the mouthpiece. I know something about how that happened....

Writers note: Since this is one of my memory stories, let's "fast forward" forty some years when our son, Paul Hinman, received the coveted "Oklahoma All State Trumpeter" award. He thrilled us further when he strutted with the prestigious OU marching band playing his Bach trumpet which he still has. Incidentally, it wasn't borrowed, he paid for it mowing yards all over Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and being the church janitor at New Harmony Baptist Church. Atta way to go -- Paul!

- Chuck Hinman, emailed February 18, 2009


This story was posted on 2012-04-08 04:54:56
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