My instrument playing background is limited. In grade school, I played the trombone for a year but that was just because it was required to play a brass instrument for a year before you could play drums. A second cousin played in the UW marching band and had an extra trombone laying around. I learned about spit valves and the different numbering positions. I wasn’t patient enough to stick it out and play the drums the next year. It dawned on me that I wouldn’t be in the marching band anyway as no musical instrument could compete with my love for football and on Friday nights, I’d be in football formations not marching ones.
Finally, at age 30, with my football playing days over, there was no excuse to not pick up an instrument. Guitar seemed like the coolest one out there, along with it’s portability, figured it would be a lifelong possession, no matter how much I moved in those days.
I had a few lessons but mainly taught myself. Like anything in life, it just took patience and practice to get through the inevitable plateaus of learning something new.
After lots of stops and starts and large practice gaps, I finally played my first song, “Take it Easy” by the Eagles about a year or so later.
I’m no virtuoso, my plucking around is barely passable in social settings amongst friends and family. But playing the guitar serves as a nice little distraction when I’m bored and a nice room decoration otherwise.
And now, the guitar also holds the potential to help raise my son or so says my wife.
Meghan tells me she wants me to play for Cash as much as possible as she’d read somewhere that early exposure to music is beneficial to babies and their overall development and certainly their music appreciation. If that’s true, playing guitar for Cash is a win-win situation.
I can keep his attention and expand his brain musically while I get some much-needed practice in…with bonus of us enjoying an activity together. I can’t wait for the day he can jam with me on another guitar, sing, play piano, ukulele or just bust a move.
I’d be lying if I said that when I first imagined myself playing guitar it was in front of thousands of adoring fans and not in front of a baby with a play-gym and toys strewn by my feet. But, I’ll choose Cash’s curious stare that leads into a smirk over a sea of pumped fists any day.
I don’t know anything about Cash’s current musical tastes. I assume he’s as blank a slate as he’ll ever be so maybe I’ll just expose him to the good stuff-classic rock, blues, hard rock.
There are some father and son songs out there with cool, poignant lyrics: Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open”, Cat Stevens “Father and Son”, and Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle.”
But, my favorite is Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” (And if I had my preferred singer, it’d be Eddie Vedder. Listen to his version here when you get a chance.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oNkSVEYP40
May your hands always be busy May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
It’s time to create some memories now, with busy hands playing the guitar on a regular basis in the hopes I can give Cash some kind of music appreciation and foundation as his musical tastes will likely change as he ages.
But, in my memory, I’ll go where the music for him started, he’ll be that little guy at my feet, looking up at me, curious and smiling with a joyful heart…where he’ll stay…forever young.