Today I had a family who had recently lost their dad/grandad. He played Spanish classical guitar, and had left them a pair of such guitars. The father and his young (approx 8 yrs) daughter were picking around on them at random.
I had a lull in the job during which I had to wait for a forward update. He asked if I knew anything about guitars, and of course I told him I know just barely enough. He offered the guitar over, wanting to learn how to play.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a specialist in Spanish classical, although I’ve always loved the softness of catgut strings and fingertips. My own dad used to play before he passed, and I have the deepest admiration for anyone that can work the strings like that. At my customer’s behest, I tuned each guitar, which had not seen action in quite some time.
As I sat there tuning, the little girl (Mariela) tried to copy my movements, precariously balancing the giant guitar on her lap. Once they were in tune, I showed her a couple of the easier chords, playing an impromptu rendition of “Jane Says” (lacking the obviously objectionable lyrics, which I replaced with lyrics about her kitten, which had fallen face first into the foodbowl earlier). Her tiny fingers struggled to traverse the space between frets, and she strummed in zealous dissonance, just happy to learn, to put her fingers where her grandfather had countless times before. She furrowed her brow and bit her tongue, but she didn’t give up on the oversized instrument. Her mom and dad watched from the kitchen, both amused and sad over their father’s passing.
My modem finally locked on, and I was able to finish the job, shaking hands with the customer over the excited cacophony of broken chords and well intentioned notes. I gathered my tools and went to leave, and as I stood in the doorway, I heard a perfect A Major chord from the den. And then I heard it again, each string struck true. It was less grace and more brutal, less Joan Baez and more Joan Jett, but it was the sound of potential realized and dreams taking wing.
I think I just met a future rock star.