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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grace


Life changes come. Inexorable. Easy. Hard. Desired. Resisted. Accepted. Overwhelming. Natural. Unbearable. Every feeling at once, and more.  Or, none.

Since the day I dropped Emily for her first band camp and watched the stocky little body disappear into the crowd, I had little fear. There have been battles, some epic, but she has built a good persona to test the world.

The last sister will leave for band camp in six short weeks. The enormity of her future only came to Laura this past school year. A lot of change to absorb. Her constant about to be absorbed into a different orbit.

One constant in these two girls’ lives is a blue guitar. It was a gift to their oldest sister, from an enthusiastic boyfriend. Neither interested Becca; the boyfriend left, the guitar stayed. Becca played baritone in her marching band, but developed no interest in the guitar.

It passed on to Emily, the flute player, whose interest level was no higher. For four years, with an intermission of two lessons, it collected dust in Emily’s room. The little trumpet player, the youngest ever admitted to the jazz band, coveted the blue guitar, but was rebuffed by that sisterly admonition, “Don’t touch my guitar!”

Three weeks ago, such squealing and jumping in the little bedroom hallway. The guitar was gifted! “I think it’s an apology,” Laura confided to Grandma, who smiled, and said nothing. Laura sat cross legged on her bed, strumming noises coming from her room. I looked in from time to time and commented the sound was pleasant. “I’ve figured out three chords,” Laura said. “But, I don’t know their names.”

I realized the guitar had no strap. “That’s because it only has one button,” the little strummer explained. We went to get a button and a strap. We tried the music store in Hudson, and it was not open, on a beautiful spring afternoon. We discussed the foolishness of stores that did not bother with customers as we headed off to the other music store we knew of.

That store is just a hole in the wall, which definition I had to explain to Laura, and she agreed at once. There is one narrow aisle left down its middle, the walls and floor space on either side packed with stuff, and guitars. We had been there before; the owner sent us away knowing a red rubber toilet plunger was the mute Hamilton needed for his trombone, and far less expensive than anything he had to offer.

We stepped into a store empty except for the proprietor, who asked Laura how he could help her. I was not needed and retreated to a stool between two packing boxes. For more than an hour I watched an irrepressible man acknowledge the ability and progress of a little girl, who was both confident in what she had figured out and insatiable to find what she didn’t know.


When two customers appeared, much, much later, Laura had two lessons under her belt, a book with marked up chords, a tuner, guitar picks that were not old CD’s, and a strap. “You don’t need a strap button,” he explained. “Use a shoe string.”

When I put the bill away later that evening, I saw he had discounted it by half, and certainly did not charge for the lessons. A kind man took the trouble for a little girl facing big changes he knew nothing of. 


28 comments:

  1. In the predawn quiet this post has made my sentimental eyes sweat. So many positives. Such a powerful illustration. (And why, oh why am I much more likely to weep at good news than bad?)

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  2. There are good people in the world. I am glad one of them helped your sweetie. Such a great story!

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  3. Nice to know there are still some people who know how to be kind and helpful.

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  4. I always like to hear there are still good people out there. And how important this was for Laura to learn. Can't wait to hear how she does with the blue guitar

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  5. My husband would say that guitar people are that way.

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  6. What a kind thing to do... and I just know that in some way, Laura will some way help someone else... maybe not today, but someday.

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  7. Hari OM
    Music. It's a bonding thing - and a healing one. I look forward to hearing a chord or more! YAM xx

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  8. I like the comment Mac and Janet said, I would havecsaid something similar. Too bad we dont live closer, hubby would have been willing to continue Laura on her guitar learning journey. I am sure under your guidance and love, Laura will continue to do well down the paths of life she will be walking on.

    Betty

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  9. Kindness is all around us in places we would not think to look. I think in Laura he saw the enthusiasm of a newbee that is so often missing in those in those who are older and less curious.

    Lovely story.

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  10. He loves his art and wants to share it...lucky young lady to come across him.

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  11. I learned to play my ukulele on Youtube. Lessons galore from the beginner to advanced.

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  12. That blue guitar, gifted so long ago to the wrong person, sat waiting for Laura all these years. I'm sure it's very happy to finally get played.
    It's nice when one musician (store owner) recognises another and helps willingly, freely.

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  13. Isn't it wonderful to know that kind pople still exist? The lessons he gave Laura are much more than a couple of guitar lessons. He taught her to truly share and be kind.

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  14. Kind, normal and down to earth. A nice combination. It is good to know they are here, there and everywhere.

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  15. Such wonderful kindness in the man. I also loved reading about Laura and her excitement and enthusiasm in tackling the guitar. I know she will use the same traits in tackling her life.

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  16. this restores my faith in humanity somewhat

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  17. She is going to love guitar. Once she develops hardened fingertips and can practice a lot. The internet has lots of lessons and guitar sheet music for almost any song she wants to learn.

    Love the guitar!

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  18. What a delightful story. I'm so glad the first music store was closed!
    And the guitar will keep her busy through all the changes this year is going to bring to her.

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  19. Good story, she looks good with the guitar.

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  20. One kind person can make such a difference can't they Joanne. she will find such pleasure from learning to play and it will be a new interest for her at a time when she really needs it.

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  21. Such luck to "find" a guitar when one needs one, and a kind person to answer the questions that arise.

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  22. Sigh of relief. Some tears here. Generous soul. Grandma beyond description. Future with music filling it.

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  23. I enjoyed reading this little story. I tried guitar as a child but the teacher gave two lessons and went MIA. Never picked it up again. Sounds like you have some really talented girls.
    Best to all.
    Lisa

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  24. Very nice story, thanks for sharing it. I wish the Laura the best of luck with the blue guitar.

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  25. Oh, Joanne. What a lovely piece. And what a nice man. Wishing Laura many years of enjoyment with her newfound love.

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  26. Best customer service I've heard of in awhile.

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  27. What a nice man. I'd recommend him to all my friends. And best of luck to Laura.

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