GUTHRIE, Okla. – World-renowned musician Byron Berline has worked with the best musicians around. It’s one of the reasons so many stopped by the Double Stop Fiddle Shop in Guthrie.
“Young artists that want to come in and ask me about what was Gram Parsons like or what was it like playing with The Byrds or Rolling Stones or whatever,” said Berline, musician and Double Stop Fiddle Shop & Music Hall owner.
And, here’s Berline playing with Vince Gill at the fiddle shop – a common occasion for the good friends.
But, a text message while Berline was on vacation Saturday would change those musical pastimes.
“We're on the golf course, and we get a text from one of his friends. I didn't have my cellphone. He did have his, and he said 'Do you want to see this?' and I said, oh my goodness, a fire - you're kidding me,” he said. “My heart just sunk. Something you just dread, you know?”
Officials said a fire started around 11:30 a.m. at the back of the flower shop next door. Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour made it a tough battle. But, what made it even tougher was the "downtown treasure" was destroyed.
“Like some of my guys and I were talking about on Saturday when this was going on, this is one that literally makes you sick to your stomach just due to the history you know is in the building,” Guthrie fire chief Eric Harlow said.
And, priceless mementos - including valuable fiddles - now a part of history.
"They all have personalities and souls to them, and I knew all of them and I just hated to think they died a death like that,” Berline said.
But, there's a chance that two fire-proof safes could hold a glimmer of hope.
“I just hope there's something in there when I open it up if I get it open," Berline said.
And, while one door has closed, Berline hopes a new one will open somewhere else to share his passion for music.
"I want to have a place to wheel and deal in instruments and collect. I don't know how much longer I'll do that, but I'm not ready to quit," he said.
We asked what Berline needs. He said he'd love for folks to go to his band's upcoming shows March 9 and 23 at the Community Church on Seward Road in Guthrie. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.