Once upon a time there lived in the woods a humble family that was poor by many standards but rich in love. The father was a woodsman. He made a living cutting down trees to sell as lumber and make into rustic furniture. The mother tended to the forest and made sure to plant new trees, especially fast growing evergreens, flowers and things to eat. They had a son, John who seemed from birth to be tapping and humming tunes. Not even his cries were shrill, he whined melodically it seemed. It was apparent to all who met John that he had a gift of music.
John’s first instrument was not really an instrument at all, it was a couple of round and polished sticks that were going to be used to join together the legs of stool! But John found them first. And though he was only 3 years old he walked around the house singing made up songs to the beating rhythm of his two sticks. For his 4th birthday his mother asked him what single thing he would like to have given to him as a gift. She expected him to want a wagon or tree house but to her surprise he said, “a guitar.” She did not argue but waited a day and asked again. Again he replied “a guitar”.
“Do you know what a guitar is?” she probed to make sure he knew what he was asking for and giving up. “Yes mami, I saw the man playing it in church and another man playing one in the town during the big party. You hold it like this and your fingers play music” explained little John, gestures and all to make sure his mommy understood. The parents discussed the peculiar gift request and agreed that the father would build the guitar.
Now, Adam, John’s father had never built a guitar. But aware that the family did not have the money to buy one, he set out to learn how guitar’s worked and built. He went into town and talked to the guitar players they had seen. He analyzed their guitars and poked the wood to hear their tone and resonance. It was love that motivated him to learn and then build the guitar.
Adam …. To be continued.
This little bedtime story was inspired on Jaimito practicing guitar on Asier’s tiny guitar and doing it so rote, so automatic that he was lying down on my bed looking at the ceiling and playing at the same time. He would close his eyes and play on this guitar that looked more like a toy, but the songs he played were his current songs which were more complex than one would expect from a toy sized red guitar. Jaimito looked like he was under a magical enchantment, like he could not stop his fingers from playing, not even while lying down. It was quite funny in fact. Then as I tried to wind the kids down and put Asier on the path to sleep I started to make up the story.
Jaimito enjoyed the story telling because so many of the little pieces of the story were true, they were echoes of his story and his first guitar at age 4. Asier was still thinking “can I play my guitar with my eyes closed?” THey both were tired and went to bed before the story came to an end. C’est ma vie!