For a long time when I was young, my dad had this old Takamine six-string that occupied various corners of his house. The funny thing is, I don't remember ever seeing him play it. In fact, apart from a few old photos that were, I think, taken before I was born, I can't recall even seeing him hold it. No, it just sat around, sometimes in a closet, other times leaning against the wardrobe in his bedroom. Eventually, it went with my older brother when he went back to his mom's house at the end of the summer.
Oddly, it never really struck me that my dad didn't play it. That guitar was just part of the furniture at his house. It wasn't until my brother took it that I even thought about it, and then only because my brother talked about it so much. To be honest, the idea of my dad playing an instrument has always seemed kind of unbelievable to me, despite the photos and even despite the fact that one of my grandmother's favorite stories about him when I was a child was how he played the French horn in high school.
For some reason, memories of that old Takamine came bubbling up this morning as I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR--one of the music breaks was a singer-songwriter-ish piece that featured some acoustic strumming, though why that would make me think of that old guitar is a mystery. It also made me think of my own guitars. Yes, guitars. Plural.
I have three guitars. One is a crappy classical that I picked up at a dorm auction during my freshman year of college--it cost me all of $21. Another is my Danelectro 56-U2. And, finally, there's the Washburn steel-string that my dad gave me for my 30th birthday. I love every one of them but I rarely ever play. In fact, I'd barely even say I know how. At my best--maybe ten or twelve years ago--I could manage some decent rhythm guitar, but even then my best instrument was harmonica. These days I've gotten terribly rusty. I can still remember a few chords on the guitar and a few riffs on the harmonica, but it's been so long since I stretched myself that I'm essentially a beginner again with both.
It makes me wonder whether Jason will come to see those guitars in the same way that I saw my dad's Takamine. And maybe he always felt the same way I do now--meaning to play, wanting to play, but never getting around to it. Who knows? Maybe Jason will some day put these strings to better use than I have.