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ST. ALBANS, Vt. - Call it drum luck. Kevin Lawyer had just finished a gig last month at Nectar's, a Burlington night spot, strapped his drum set into the back of his pickup truck and set off on his 25-mile trip home up Interstate 89 to St. Albans.

When he got there, his 16-inch floor tom was gone from its case.

He surmised that an unsecured case lid and a bump in the road were to blame.

He got back in his truck, drove back to Burlington, made a U-turn and repeated the trip to St. Albans, driving very slowly with his flashers on, scanning the roadsides for the escaped drum.

"I looked for three or four hours," he said. "I got pulled over for going too slow, but the cop let me go when I told him what I was doing."

Another northbound traveler on I-89 that night was Steve Harrington of Richmond, a driver for Carpenter's Motor Transport who spends his nights driving bulk mail around northern Vermont.

His headlights caught the glint of the drum's chrome by the white line at the roadside. He did what seemed natural. "If you saw a drum on the side of the road in the middle of the night, wouldn't you stop and pick it up?" he asked.

Harrington called state police, who said they'd received no reports of a missing drum. He asked at music stores and among musician friends. He drove his truck with the drum in the front passenger seat, figuring he might happen upon its rightful owner.

Vermont's a small place, and finally Harrington found someone who knew someone who knew someone else who had lost a drum.

Harrington and Lawyer spoke and set a time to meet. "It's a great day," Lawyer said. "I can't believe it."

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