Finding Home

My dad’s guitar.

Good morning from snowy Vermont. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts during this time of my dad’s death. My family and I are well supported as we go through our grieving, and we are sharing stories with each other as we step away one day to the next from the late afternoon of his death.

This is what I have to tell you today. My dad learned to play banjo and guitar when he was eight or nine, and then later on took up the bass violin as he joined his older brothers’ band. Once the band broke up, he focused exclusively on the guitar, playing a Sears special. Then we kids bought him a second-hand Ovation. After ten years playing and singing at his beloved St. Teresa’s church, the church community bought him a Taylor, a beautiful instrument with a sweet, sweet sound. This was the instrument he played when I joined him each Sunday morning in my mother’s kitchen with my ukulele.

After he died, my mama gave his guitar and its stand to me. I have it right here beside me as I type. Not a scratch on it’s golden wood, and the strings are light on my fingers. When my mom gave me his guitar, it came with a qualification. I was to give my Washburn (a big, beautiful guitar with a booming sound) to Serena so she could learn how to play guitar, and then we were to play together. At fifty-four, I pretty much do what my mom tells me to do because I know how wise she is. Serena does too (not for me but for her Memere). So I gave my Washburn to Serena, and she is now learning how to play guitar chords–not on the Washburn–it’s too big for learning on–but on the little, brown Martin my dad gave me when I was a sophomore in high school.

So that’s where we are now, her learning, my playing and coaching, and our baby steps start in playing music together. My dad, in a joyful place, is quite pleased watching us play–I know that in my heart. Meanwhile, he’s back with his brothers playing the bass and probably doing lead vocal. That man loved to sing. He told me often that when he was in the band, he knew at least one hundred songs by heart. Something to aspire to.

What’s your relationship with music? Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.



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2 thoughts on “My dad’s guitar.

  1. Corlies Delf on said:

    Such a wonderful trail through the years, the music of family. I imagine this road leads back many generations in your heritage. It’s a wonderful image, you and Serena playing (and singing?) together, teaching and learning and loving. Remembering, and healing your grief.

    In my family, we mostly just sang together, especially in the car. And I’ve sung in choirs since middle school — 50+ years now. Last night I was in the audience for a wonderful concert, and in the middle we had a few sing-along songs. The friend on my left sang out, stood up, and waved her arms, 1960s style. The friend on my right sat quietly, wishing that part of the evening would come to a quick end. Me? I teared up with the first song, don’t really know why, and had a hard time joining except in my heart. We humans can be so intriguing!

    • Corlies–I remember hearing stories about your singing road trips. We didn’t travel far or often, and dad was often tired when we were young, so we talked among ourselves and I tried not to be too wiggly sitting between my mom and dad in the front. Tim and Serena don’t sing very much although they love music, and when they do, I know they are very, very happy. Thanks so much for your message. Happy Easter!



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