A Simple Man and a Simple Gift
Up until the last few years, it's always been just another year that goes by. Just another month of April. Just another April 16th to be exact. As a little punk-ass teenager with very little respect or care for anything other than myself, I always had a thought of "oh well, I didn't know him that well" and would just carry on with little to no emotion. Now, 30 years later, I feel like I knew my Grandfather a hell of a lot more than I ever gave it all credit for. He passed away 30 years ago today and thoughts have been crowding my head for weeks.
It's never been that I didn't care about him or that I didn't understand the pain it caused my family. The pain of loss. The pain of unexpected death. I was 4-years-old when it happened. It being the auto accident that took his life that year. I remember my parents holding me, being excited to go into my Grandparents house but, once inside, not understanding the sadness, the crying and the shock on everyone's dreary faces. But I do remember. I remember a lot of it. The newspaper clipping describing the info surrounding his death. The obituary. The building of strength within my Grandmother and Mom through the years to carry on. All of it. Each year, a new memory surfaces.
My Grandfather was a solid dude. A preacher. A family man. One heck of a guitar player. He'd play an old Gibson acoustic guitar louder and more precise than many crappy musicians nowadays attempt to with an electric and an amp.
His musical talent carried through to my Mom and eventually onto me. I learned by watching bands on TV, reading magazines and tablature books. Eventually I learned myself and what I wanted to be. A musician. An artist. A designer. I wanted to make an impact. Years later, his Gibson guitar was handed down to me and to this day, I play it on a regular basis. For many years, I played in bands, toured the country, and eventually started this whole design thing by meeting other bands on the road that needed shirt designs, cd layouts, etc. It all started with a simple man like my Grandfather and a simple gift he wanted me to have. The gift of a stellar instrument but also the gift of impact on my life. The gift of memories. The gift of music.
Today, I play that same guitar.
It's scratched. It doesn't stay tuned. It's old and it's missing a couple small pieces but it's an amazing thing to have around. Those scratches are his. Those tuning pegs are the original ones. The deep sound that guitar has doesn't exist in many instruments anymore. A definite conversation starter and overall, a lasting memory of things it took me years to actually care about. Second to the beautiful children and family I've been blessed with, no better gift can ever be given.