Swap meets , yard sales , garage sales , things laying in an alley , you name it I love other peoples up for grabs or discarded stuff . So it was no surprise that we decided to go to a swap meet one saturday morning about 15 years ago . There's a local swap meet that we generally always go to but this morning we decided to go to one that is down in my old neighborhood that I grew up in . The spring Valley swap meet , is in a town about 10 minutes away from Bonita which is where I grew up and where my dad still lives , So we decided to go see him & my mom and then swing by the swap meet for some other peoples junk .
As we're strolling through the isles I see an easy up with a bunch of musical instruments . Mostly brass , a few guitars and way in the back a bunch of congas & hand drums of different shapes & sizes . I decide to see if there are any name brand guitars and when I realize they are all junkers I look back into the shadows to peek at the drums . . .
I see one that is all scribbled & painted on . I can tell what it is , but in the dim light and with it slightly obscured by a few other drums , it's hard to really tell what I'm looking at . I get a shiver and think to myself , " man what if that's a dutch striped conga drum .
I get a little closer and start moving the other drums out of the way and there it is . Obviously very old , automotive style pin striping . I start to breathe a little faster as I scan it for a signature . . . nope , nope , nothing . . . shit who did this shit ?
Then on top of the conga there this wild round asymmetrical design with a small barely readable signature and a date . Watson '58 .
Shit that's not Dutch . . . wait Watson ? LARRY WATSON ?
I ask how much for this busted up old drum , and someone says $20 . I say how about $15 . . . deal and done .
A little time goes by and I contact mister Larry Watson through this hot rod shop that was sharing a complex up north and since they are having an open house I should bring it up to have him verify it for me . I do and he does , and we talk for almost an hour with him sharing stories about when he did that for his dad so long ago and that was actually the only one like that he had ever done . He actually remembered it well and pulled out a wad of bills and started peeling them off . " how much will it take " he asked me . It's not for sale , is all I came up with .
Talk about the holy grail of swap meet finds ! I've only ever seriously thought of getting rid of it once but was quickly talked out of it .
I thought I would put it up on here for posterity .