The Gretsch

More than a few times people have made comments about the Cadillac Green guitar that has become my main instrument.  There's a story behind it, and it goes like this...

     My father was a carpenter and weekend musician back in 1960, and, one day Dad brought this guitar home-- new from the store.  I was 10 years old. 

    He laid the case down on the kitchen table, smiling at me and my impatience to see his new guitar.  With a good deal of deliberation he opened each of the latches on the case.  Then with a "Ta-ta-tata!" he slowly opened the lid... and revealed the most dazzling and magical sight I had ever seen in my 10 years of life! 

     I can still remember staring at it.  Visions of me onstage with this incredible beauty hanging in front of me as I played in front of a huge, adoring audience passed translucently before my eyes.  I could "hear" the distant echo of the music I would play.  And, for the first time in my life "Lust" crept into my heart.  I reached out to touch the neck, and my dream ended abruptly as my father dropped the lid shut.  "You are never to touch this guitar!" he was saying, "It is not a toy!"

     The vision and the music were rapidly dissolving into reality.  Of course!  I knew instinctively that I wouldn’t be permitted to play Dad’s expensive new guitar!  I knew it!  He was fussy about his “things”.

     Yet, over the next decade when Dad would be at work, and Mom would be out for the day; my brother Tom and I would tiptoe into their bedroom and into the closet to retrieve the Gretsch and his bass guitar.  We would jam the day away, careful to quit long before we wanted to.  We would return the amps and guitars to their exact previous positions in the closet—we were very, very careful.  And, we were never caught!  Of course we were never caught!  Because if we had been, you wouldn’t be reading this—we would be DEAD! 

     That has been many years ago, now.  And, I did get to play Dad’s Gretsch a few times, now and then.  I would ask him to bring it out to show it to a friend or to his grandchildren while we were visiting. 

     I have been a musician for more than 40 years myself, with some modest successes.  Then, about 2 years ago, I was invited to perform as part of a guitar exhibit at the Orlando Science Center.  And, Dad turned this treasured guitar over to me!  Fifty-two years of unrequited lust and love and now it was mine!

     I play it each and every day.  

'Nuff said!


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