Yesterday while shopping in Oliver's world of exotic and bizarre delights, (aka The Dollar Store) I spied a bunch of $5.00 Made in China "Victory" Harmonicas. At the risk of contracting god alone knows what from dozens of other harmonica testers I took one from its box and made a test run. No dead reeds. No Hohner organ this $5.00 sandwich of cheap chrome, basswood frets and tin reeds, but it blows a recognizable tremolo. Sold!
Almost 30 years ago I dropped $52.00 on a fancy Hohner 270 gold chromatic harmonica which included a spring-loaded button-actuated slide that gave me access to the full range of notes found on a piano keyboard. I loved that thing, even if my children cringed every time I took it from its velvet-lined case. That particular mouth organ probably costs a couple of hundred dollars now, and I'm not likely to ever buy another. That one met an untimely end when it fell into the wood stove. (I assumed at the time that its fiery end was an accident, but considering my "talent", I wouldn't swear to it.)
But I digress. I brought my $5.00 beauty home yesterday, unpacked it and blew a few chords. You could tell from the expression on Tony's face that he'd steeled himself to the occasion. I'm sure he was thanking his stars that he's partially deaf. But the cat had no previous experience as the audience of a harmonica recital. He reacted to the first notes as if his tail had fallen into a vat of hot wax. He shot off to the other end of the trailer, twitching his ears and swishing his magnificent tail in the most exquisite demonstration of disdain (if not pain) I'd witnessed since the last time I played the harmonica!
I picked the "Victory" up today and sawed out a couple of very rusty tunes. Cat was most unimpressed. He twitched his ears so hard I thought he might leave the floor. (I definitely felt a draft.) He tried to put his paws over his ears, and failing that, started trying to crawl into any cupboard large enough to accommodate 20 pounds of irritated feline.
As we'd say in the sowth, "LAWD have MERCY!!!"
I finally felt sorry for him and put the thing away, but he's gonna have to get used to it, unless he finds a way to build a fire, and can slip this poor buzzy contraption into it. I'd forgotten how much fun a $5.00 mouth organ can be.