July 4, 2008–At approximately 8:30am on the morning of Independence Day, lightning struck the shop of Spirit Songs Flutes
in Shirley, Arkansas.
William “Woodpecker” Worden has been handcrafting Native American flutes since 2000, when he learned the art of flute making from Sonny Nevaquoya, son of the late and legendary Doc Tate Nevaquoyah. For years, he has been a fixture at the Little Rock River Market, where he plays beautiful flute tunes for all to hear.
For a long time, William made do with few tools and no workshop. He worked part of the year driving a truck, making flutes during the busier season. He made flutes on the back porch and brought everything inside when rain threatened. Then he took over a bedroom inside the house when his business grew. As his customer base broadened, he required more space and better tools to keep up with the demand for his extremely high quality flutes. That’s when he decided to take the plunge and build his workshop.
Friends helped to erect the structure, a comfortable working quarters with space for all of the required tools, supplies, and space to lay it all out in. Soon the flute maker had it set up just the way he wanted it and was making more and more flutes with ease.
All that changed the morning of July 4th. A thunderstorm raged outside, and lightning struck. The lights blew out as the family ate breakfast together. Young Andrew, age 9, said “It sure is looking foggy out there”. William and wife Patricia looked outside and realized that was no fog. It was smoke, and it was the workshop on fire!
William raced to get the hose, and Patricia tried to call the fire department, but the phones had been knocked out by the power surge as well. “I had to go to Tommy Dean’s (a neighbor down the road) to call for help and he met me on the road. It reminded me of when they rang the bell in ‘Witness’. Sometimes it’s just hard on this hill. We aren’t very many and we are all so far apart”.
By the time the fire department arrived, the shop was a total loss, and the house had been damaged as well. All of his tools, supplies, flutes being made, some completed flutes, and many personal items were completely destroyed. “I don’t even have a hammer” William stated after the smoke cleared. But “William saved our house! The fire chief even said so,” Patricia states. She said the image of him “on the roof of the house in his shorts and bare feet” while he struggled to keep the blaze from destoying their home as well as their livelihood, “made me love him all over again”.
William asks for patience from those who have ordered flutes, and assures that they will all be completed. Arrangements are being made to allow him to get started on his current orders with the aid of family and friends.
William Worden is scheduled to host a children’s seminar in Hope, Arkansas, in just 2 weeks.
Spirit Songs Flutes will be staying in business. William intends to completely rebuild and is already working on the flutes for the children’s seminar.
Spirit Songs Flutes can be reached at 501-723-4085 or toll free 888-814-3127, or letters can be sent to Spirit Songs Flutes, 554 Little Fox Road, Shirley, AR 72153.