Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The other night I hauled my guitar home. The D string was broken. And I had yet to perfect the art of changing guitar strings. Hang on. I still have yet to perfect it. Oh well. I'm a whole lot closer.
So since I had the whole set, and it's the D that always breaks I set about changing all of them. After a small amount of instruction from those, or that, which has far far more experience. The type of musical experience I'm unlikely to ever accumulate unless I start "playing" a heck of a lot more then I do. Also the type of ability I'm unlikely to have no matter what I do. Short of some futuristic operation to give a person oodles of musical talent coupled with hours and hours of practice.
Anyway, I was struggling with the last string. Dad had retired to the schoolroom where he was working on his second love, speaking hobby wise. His video editing. I called out, "Dad?"
"Did you buy my guitar new?"
"No, why?"
"The guy I got it from told me it was a 'screamin' deal'. Although I'm not sure how much of a screamin' deal it really was."
"Really? How old were you?"
"Oh. About twenty."
"Yup. That's the guitar that went across Canada with me."
"Really? This is the guitar you took across Canada?!" We spoke of the adventure he embarked on in his early free-to-do-as-he-pleased days. The time he hitched to Manitoba with my Aunt, also free and adventurous then, and then continued on to the east coast for the heck of it. With his necessary guitar on his back.
As far as recent history is concerned, it's also the guitar that made two trips to Mexico with us. Perched above my parent's bed in the incredibly beat-up case I still keep it in. And the same one I found on the kitchen table the morning of my seventeenth birthday. The one that had spent years hanging above his chair waiting for when he got home.
I felt so...I don't know. How does one describe emotions? Imagine you were turning seventeen. You were a new girl in the guitar sense. You found your Dad's guitar for you. Like he was sharing a part of his music, his biggest part of who he is, with you. And giving you an instrument shaped through years of playing, and starting you out on the one you first started plucking on. Imagine that. I'm sure that's not how I felt, since I'm not you. But that's what it was to me.
Let me be clear. He is not the type of man to live his dreams through his kids. To push them into his ideas of success. Or what have you. But I don't doubt he would be happy to see one of his kids interested in playing.
I have not done my guitar justice. Yet. Dad thinks it's because he plays it often and plays it well that the rest of us never got very far, comparatively. Guitar is a frustrating instrument to try learn if you've not got a lot of patience. So to have his years of dedication to compare ourselves to...
I don't even notice when he plays guitar. It's just been a so-often present sound somewhere in the background of our lives. Some nights he would bring it down and play us to sleep. Now when people comment on it I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I guess he is playing. Yeah. It's nice." Some of the songs he wrote are just engrained. So much so that over the last couple years I've still been finding out that some of them are his. Songs that were just always there.
I was pleased to learn some of the story behind my guitar. I love things with history, and stories. Probably because I love history and stories. I love my guitar. It's something I'm proud to own. It's lived through a few scratches. But it's still the nicest one, if not the most expensive, I've ever played. Now if only I was half decent enough to be proud to play it.

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