When I saw and heard John's first sunflower flute two years ago I wanted one - badly. I begged him, literally, to sell it to me. For months.
And for months he politely but decisively declined. Finally, though a man of very few words, John explained why he would not sell this flute, or any of the flutes he makes, to me. The minute you add money to the equation, he said, it changes the whole formula.
John is right about that. Which is why I no longer sell flutes.
A few months later he suggested a trade. I had a shakahatchie he was interested in. He agreed to send me the sunflower flute, but then realized it was cracked. He would not have another harvest of sunflowers for many months. Would I like his swamp flute, he asked. With great enthusiasm I agreed. I knew the swamp flute's history, and very much admired it.
John's wife Jane asked him later why he sent me the best flute in his collection. He said, "Because I wanted it to find its home with someone who I knew would cherish it."
John was right about that, too. John is right about alot of things. Hardly a day has gone by in the last year that I have not played the swamper.
A couple of weeks ago John sent me an mp3 file of his latest sunflower flute. I was captivated. I knew enough to not ask for a second trade. John has given very few of his flutes to anyone outside his family. I already had one. I already had his best flute. I did not dare to ask.
But oh, how I longed for that sunflower flute! I also knew that John played pennywhistles, and I owned a Burke that I hardly ever played. Nearly $200, gorgeous tone, really nice whistle. But it did not speak to me, never had.
With not much hope I sent John an email asking if he would consider a trade. He wrote back shortly afterwards saying he was actually getting on his computer to send me an email just before he got mine. He said he was getting ready to ask me for my address again because he wanted to send me the sunflower flute as a gift. He would accept the Burke as a gift as well.
John isn't a man of many words. John is a man of great, compassionate deeds.