Friday, June 5, 2009


One sunny day in 1971 I walked into a music shop. After putting down approximately 85 of my hard-earned dollars I proudly left, carrying a black case which held a new guitar. I started taking lessons but life was busy between work and friends and school. I just didn’t want to sit still long enough to learn while I could be out having fun. So I stopped the lessons, and kept the guitar carefully packed in the black case.

Five years later I read about guitar lessons to be given at the local YWCA. Yes! I signed up and went to all 8 lessons. Nothing stuck. I didn’t really learn anything. Once again the guitar was relegated to the black case.

Over the years I moved a few times, toting the guitar along with the boxes and furniture. I married and gave birth to three boys. Somewhere around 1986 my first son wanted to take guitar lessons, having seen the case and the guitar many times. His lessons lasted about 2 years and he played quite well. The guitar was his to use. As a teenager, he added an amplifier and a shoulder strap.

This past winter I asked if he still had the instrument, and if I could borrow it for a while. Yes, it was in the storage room in the barn, he said. No one was using it so I could take it. When he brought it out I wasn’t sure if I would have the same feeling for it that I did 38 years ago. The case was slightly warped from the dampness in the barn and its handle is broken. The guitar hole was greasy from the amplifier. I took it home and removed the amp. Then I used a very mild soapy cloth to clean the wood. It looked almost as new as when I first held it, except for the strap buttons. With new strings and a book, I started at the beginning. I’m going slowly and I repeat the same pages until I get the notes right, but I feel so good about it. Maybe I’ve learned the patience that I need for an endeavor like this.

Now my guitar sits in the black case, but this time it is in my living room and comes out most evenings to sit on my knee and practice. It may not be fancy but it’s special to me. It’s been with me for most of my life.

P.S. I’ve just ordered a child-size guitar for my grandchildren and will be buying a full-size guitar for my son. I think I’ll keep mine for a while and make some music.

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