My Dad’s Guitar

Guitar playing was a common sound at my home when I was a kid. Mom says that when I was an infant I would throw tantrums whenever dad played his guitar. I got over that quickly, and when he didn’t play, I got to the point where I didn’t sleep. He played a lot! Hey, it gave them a much needed break!

Dad taught himself to play by listening to Johnny Cash songs on the radio. He learned all the licks and although he didn’t use the same chords as most, his picking was a favorite at all the kitchen parties in the area.

I remember mom and dad singing together. Their voices worked so good together. Tone deaf, I could never carry a tune in a bucket, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t love it when they sang. When they sang together, it was so calming for us kids. My friends would come over every summer day to hear the tunes.

I remember dad bringing home the first home stereo, an old eight track player and two speakers. There was even a record player mounted on the top of the unit. State of the art, the old Magnasonic (made somewhere in a country we had not heard of at the time) played all the recent country standards of the time, interrupted only by the loud CLANG each time one of the channels changed. Dad picked along with all the songs and even learned some new ones.

My brother picked up the guitar when he was six, and he was great at it. He used to bring his little guitar to school to play for the teachers. This got old when they forced him to stay in during lunch to play music for them. They actually turned him against guitar. He is a grown man now, and from time to time he will pick up the guitar and play a tune or two, but the interest has long since left.

My dad doesn’t play anymore. His fingers have since grew stiff, both from age and the many cuts and bangs he suffered while working in the logging industry. There is still a guitar hanging behind his bedroom door. He takes it down from time to time, tunes it up, and then puts it back on the nail. If I could, I would loan him my limber, non-guitar playing fingers so I could hear him play just one more time, but given my dad’s pride and character, he would decline and try to teach me to play instead.

My dad still loves music though, and still has country tunes banging in his car stereo. Yesterday I overheard he and mom sitting on the edge of the chair, singing together. It was nice, music to my ears.


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