Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Fell in Love with Music—Again!

My mother had this Oahu Hawaiian guitar which I inherited when I was in the seventh grade. I learned to play a few chords on it so I could perform in our junior high talent show. Hank Williams was my favorite country singer. I played and sang “Detour, there’s a muddy road ahead” in the talent show. My classmates at reunions have not neglected to recall this performance, in my cowboy hat and Levi’s and engineer boots. That was my introduction to the guitar. I never played in public again, but continued on for my own enjoyment, later adding the harmonica. During the ‘60s I picked up the guitar again, graduating to a cheap but not bad sounding acoustic job so that I could play with some friends at the “hootenannies” we had in our living rooms. It was, after all, the 60s. We played and sang all the protest songs of the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement: “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “We Shall Overcome,” etc., etc. Later I joined in the church renewal movement and joined a secular-religious order. We sang a lot and even wrote lyrics to some of the folk hymns and popular tunes of the day. Then I just stopped singing and the guitar went to my ex-wife when we split up. Except for a few brief attempts to sing in a church choir it seemed that I had just lost interest in music. Until this summer, that is. My friend Frank got this guitar, a steel string Eko made in Italy that he wanted to sell. I took it home to try it out. It sat in my office next to my computer desk, gathering dust for several months. Then this summer Linda, intuiting that I might be almost ready to pick it up, arranged a bartering deal with one of her Tai Chi students: free Tai Chi lessons in exchange for free guitar lessons. I got the guitar out, tuned it up, had my first lesson, and was amazed at what was coming back to me, not just the chords, but the Music, the interest, the passion for it. So I went out and bought new strings and a tuner and re-strung the instrument and am now practicing every day. I even dug out my four harmonicas that have been languishing in my bedside stand for several years. This must be the “summer of love.”

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