I have a new love these days. It came at me out of the blue, unexpected. I’m learning to play the guitar. Not just any guitar, but my Dad’s 1950’s Gibson.
Sometimes life throws us a curveball. Through some twists and turns, the guitar came to me in January. My brother, the only one who played, inherited it after my Dad passed away in 1995. Now it’s come to me for safekeeping.
I have so many memories of my Dad playing this guitar. Listening to him play 50’s and 60’s country-western music. Singing along to “Country Roads” by John Denver and “Sing a Song” by the Carpenters. Hours spent on Saturday nights watching TV at a certain house, while my Dad played music in the basement with his friends. He had this guitar my whole life, even before he married my Mom in 1969. It was a tiny piece of him we were able to keep after he passed away.
If you had asked me, two months ago, if I would be learning guitar today I would have laughed at you. What guitar? Who has time? I would have said. But when this piece of my history arrived and I put my hands on the guitar I knew it couldn’t stay in its case. I knew I had to learn. It’s like a living thing; it needs to be played. And by playing it, I feel closer to my Dad than I have in a long time. As I learn to play the chords I wonder how he managed to use his very large fingers to play them. I wonder how and when he got this guitar, why he chose this particular one. And I miss him, even more.
My guitar-playing friends seem to love this guitar. It’s a ~1956-7 Gibson ES125 hollow-body electric. Don’t know that that means? Don’t worry, neither did I a couple of months ago. It’s an early electric guitar, and little tiny piece of guitar history. A big piece of my personal history, growing larger every day.
I was surprised at how comfortable it is in my hands; how well it seems to fit me. I find that I like having music in my life again. Making music again. (I played flute years ago.) I always like learning something new, but in this I’m a true beginner. I can see how far I have to go, to even play a song. But I’m working on it. Working a little bit everyday, through the sore fingers and the awkward pauses to play the chords right and someday, I’ll be able to play a song or two.
And you know what? Surprise of all surprises, I’m loving every minute of it.
PS – Today is the last day to enter the Market/Wheels Giveaway! I would love your feedback as I prep for my exhibition, and you could win a matted print for giving it. Visit this post here for the details.