13 April 2007

Granny's Gift

When I was about 13 years old, one of my uncles went to "college". While he was being educated - reformed, call it what you will - Granny Harriott bought him a guitar since there wasn't a lot to do during the day at this particular institution. One of his "classmates" happened to know how to play and, there being nothing else to do, passed on his musical knowledge to my uncle.

Not to be left out on the present receiving, my other uncle - educated uncle's brother - had to have one as well. So Granny outfits lesser educated uncle with an identical guitar. These guitars were pretty decent. Yamahas if remember correctly. They had a certain thin twang about them that Yamahas are prone to have. It's because of the thin spruce tops that Yamaha uses in the construction, but I digress. Suffice it to say, Gran probably dropped a couple hundred on each one.

Seeing how a little bit of whining worked for lesser educated uncle, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. Sure enough, it worked. But Granny didn't drop the same kind of cash on me. And rightly so. I was 13 for heaven's sake. I would probably put it down in a week. She went to Fast Freddy's and bought something that Freddy probably didn't know much about. I recall that she spent about $60 for mine, case and all. What she bought me was a Sigma which is made by the Martin Company. Martin is known for producing world class acoustic guitars. This thing was worth 10 times that much.

Granny's $60 investment paid off. This guitar has followed me everywhere since then. I have played it until my fingers have bled. It has been an outlet for joy, a vehicle for expressing the unexpressable, and a healer of broken hearts. Unless you ask sister her opinion, then it ranks somewhat lower.

I've since added to my guitar collection (2 garage sale classicals and an $800 Ibanez that almost cost me my marriage), but I always come back to this one. It knows exactly what I'm trying to say and how I'm trying to say it.

She's had a few bumps and bruises along the way. The most noteable is a deep gash in her top from a college (note the lack of quotation marks) incident that almost saw the death of my roommate - at my hands. But despite her blemishes, her tone still sounds the same as the day she came home from the pawn shop.

So, Gran, I think I've gotten some mileage from that $60. It's lived in 9 different houses, played on Lord knows how many stages, and even done duty at 2 Army posts. It's 23 years later and I still haven't put it down. As long as there is a song in my heart and a tune in my head, I imagine this guitar will be in my hands. Thank you, Granny.


jamie said...

Are you that old?? Just kidding.... That almost brought a tear to my eye.. I know it will make mom cry!! Those are good shots of the guitar!! Even though I was torchered to death as a child by it!! LOL!

Good job and welcome to our blog!!! I knew it was just a matter of time before you had your own... Now, it is time for Ms. Nancy to quit using Amy's and get her own one!!!! hint....hint...

AmyWhit said...

LOL. I don't see mom branching out, Jamie!

These are great, Jeff. A touching tribute to your Granny. Now tell me about the first picture in the series. It's hard to tell because you converted to black and white...but is it on a glass table shot from underneath? Spill it.

AmyWhit said...

Thanks for telling your "secret" to the first one. Now that you've told me, I can totally see the floor. You did a great job making the guitar the main focus because I didn't see the floor until you pointed it out to me. I thought maybe it was on a glass table and you took the picture from below. Hey, I've been known to lay on the ground to get a shot. LOL. Looks like beached whale!! I try to restrain myself when in public!

Judy said...

Yes, as I wipe away a tear, I recall all about the guitar. And also how tourchered your sister was. (She told me every day 3/4 times a day!"Make him quit playing that guitar.")

But I loved to hear you play. I would be lying in bed when you would come in from a night out, you would play "Stairway to Heaven" or "Time in a Bottle" and all was well.

When Sissy would complain, your answer was always "Just let me get it out". When your have talant it just has to come out. A ture friend is hard to find, so hang on to this one. And come play for me soon (she's in Alask she can't hear you!)xoxo