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(For those who do not know me, I make wooden instruments - lap dulcimers & bowed psalteries)

WELL, IT FINALLY HAPPENED!  After working with wood and making instruments since the mid 1970’s, last Friday, Aug, 23, it finally happened.  I was cutting some pieces on the table saw when, in a split second, I was staring down at four bloody fingers dangling by thin strips of flesh from my right hand.  It happened so fast that I really don’t know how it happened.  I do distinctly recall thinking, and perhaps uttering, some pointedly unkind thoughts regarding the specific circumstances which had befallen me.

I wound up in Charlotte in the care of a group hand specialist surgeons who told me candidly that I might very well lose all four fingers, but under the best case scenario I was facing a long, frustrating path of surgeries, skin grafts, physical therapy and that he and I were going to become very familiar with each other.

On Tuesday, the 28th I emerged from a medicinally induced haze in the ICU.  The surgeons had operated on my hand for 5 hours.  They were not able to save one of my fingers – which will somewhat limit my ability to communicate effectively, if you know what I mean- but were able, at least so far, to fuse bone, shorten and save three fingers.  So the journey of recuperation has begun.

I do not yet know what is going to happen to my art fair schedule for the rest of the year, but – “Oh, the unkindest cut of all,” I did have to drop out of Long’s Park.  However, to quote the indomitable Gen. MacArthur, “I SHALL RETURN”.  I have NOT lost my skill, nor my experience, and I WILL adapt my muscle and eye coordination.

This “down time” is giving me time for serious reflection on the future.  I have just reached my 69th birthday and, while I have been blessed/cursed with a true love for this business, I know that I cannot go on indefinitely.  So, here’s the deal, at present I have a good supply of bowed psalteries already in stock.  For the future, I am going to create fewer, but higher end psalteries.  There are psaltery makers out there who make very nice functional instruments.  With the materials, inlays etc. that I use, I cannot compete with them pricewise, nor do I wish to.  I am going to concentrate on building truly unique, one-of-a-kind, heirloom instruments that are not just functional instruments, but are functional pieces of art.  This will allow me to grow, be able to “spread my creative wings” and concentrate more on the creation of these truly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of musical art.   This will also create a niche, which, to the best of my knowledge, is virgin territory.

I would appreciate any kind, “healing” thoughts which you may feel inclined to send my way.

Archie Smith

Archie Smith Instruments  

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Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on September 10, 2012 at 5:53pm

Archie, I'm continuing in my prayers for your recovery and for your family while you're healing.

Comment by Finny Lazarus on September 10, 2012 at 9:42am

Archie, I've seen you at shows and we might have been next to each other in some...I remember you as a very sweet and peaceful person! You will be fine! your attitude is great and you have lots of people thinking and praying for your quick recovery!

Comment by Leslie Turner on September 8, 2012 at 12:43am

In evolution, it is not the strongest who survive, but those most able to adapt to change. Here's to your strength and adaptability. It sounds like you have what it takes to make it thru this and be stronger on the other side. Best of health and luck to you and your art.

Comment by Jay McDougall on September 7, 2012 at 8:17pm

As a fellow "wood guy" my spine is jelly thinking of you. I just returned from Long's Park. It was my first trip there and I was looking forward to meeting you, as we have yet to cross paths. Get well, be strong, and get back out there. I'm sure we will meet soon.

Comment by Donna McGee on September 7, 2012 at 12:15pm

Good Luck!!

Comment by Connie Mettler on September 7, 2012 at 10:46am

Many thanks to Ron Melotte and Bill Kinney at Paragon Events for taking the initiative to give Archie even more support. Please read this discussion to see what else you can do in this situation:

Comment by Karole Bowlds on September 7, 2012 at 8:51am

So sorry about your accident. You seem to be very positive, upbeat, and introspective= which means you are well on the way to recovery! I wish you many blessings! Your niche idea sounds like a great plan...let us know your progress in your recovery and in your business future! My Da almost lost his  four fingers on his right hand  30 years ago.... they were able to save them all, but the nerves are still not very responsive to heat and cold.  do the PT, follow the doctors advise, and above keep up the positive attitude! It will take some time, but you CAN persevere!

Comment by R. C. Fulwiler on September 6, 2012 at 9:34pm

Archie, My wife Kim and I were your neighbors last March in Bonita Springs.  Kim remembers you fondly and your compliments did not go unappreciated.  I loved your attitude and the music wasn't bad either.  I see where there is a website where we artist can help one of our own.... I'm going to send you some money in the hope it will get you through to the other side...

Comment by Virginia Dauth on September 6, 2012 at 5:18pm

Archie, My most heart felt wishes that you will recover with what the surgeon could save. Be tough my man, You will make it.

Comment by Geoff Coe on September 6, 2012 at 10:58am

Archie, I do not remember the show where I met you but I sure remember your gentlemanly demeanor, the fun you had with your customers, your beautifully-crafted instruments, and the lovely music that floated over to my delighted ears.  My prayers are with you as you start this new journey! I have no doubt that you'll find your voice and vision.

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