Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Men I Love Play Guitar

Some of my fondest memories of growing up are wrapped around a guitar. When my dad was 13 years old, he learned to plunk three notes--G, C and D-- (the basic cord of G, he tells me). From there, he taught himself more. Whenever the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins got together, there my dad would sit, strumming along. He especially loved old country and western songs, as I recall. He was really good at starting sing-alongs wherever he went. Once, when I was about six or seven, we were all at my Uncle Min's house, and as usual, dad was playing the guitar. He said, "Jan-Marie, come over here and sing us a song." Ohmigosh, I was so excited. My daddy wanted me to sing with him! So, Dad played guitar and I sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." My heart was filled with such joy, you can't imagine. I floated on clouds that night.

And so began my love of music and of men who play guitar. In the back of my mind was always the thought that the man I married would have to be a guitar man. I like to say that I went through three guitarists before I met Jim. It's true. They just weren't the right one. Then, on a beautiful September day, a friend brought me to the opening dinner on campus where her friend was playing his guitar and singing as the evening's entertainment. Now, you have to understand. I'd listened to Leah talk about "her friend Jim" for over a year and I'd tended to blow her off. I could only imagine that "her friend Jim" would be too much like her, and I just wasn't interested in that kind of neurotic. I couldn't believe it when I saw him. He was gorgeous and not neurotic at all. Quite the contrary. I came to learn that he tolerated Leah, but they weren't good friends. Jim has this head of unruly curls and just-barely-trimmed beard. He was wearing a wrinkled white oxford button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of faded jeans. He took my breath away. The rest is a story for another day. The point is, he played guitar. He was the right one.

Fast forward a few years and our son, Dylan, is fifteen. Jim shows him a few cords. He practices. He looks up guitar charts online and continues to teach himself. Funny, how this runs in the family. A friend showed Jim a few cords when he wanted to learn. Within two days, Jim was playing a gig in a local pub. Dylan becomes a real guitar star, joining a few bands and playing with his dad on the church worship team. Dylan is a rock star. Watch him roll. And he's cute to boot.

I love men who play guitars. I have three favorites.


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