Tuesday, June 15, 2010

7 Days Until NMA Reunion

Only 7 more days until the NMA Reunion and I still have a lot of work to do. I got up early this morning, as I usually do, at around 4:00 am, and set Axecalibur on its stand in preparation for some practicing. While sipping my coffee I looked at Axecalibur. Jeez what a nice instrument! With its artfully done binding, mother of pearl inlays on its ebony neck, gold frets and hardware... It has a AAAA wood top and back, a chambered mahogany body... When you look at it, you need to hold on to your chair lest you lose yourself in its depths (and no, I haven't been eating mushrooms).

I thought about all the cool guitars I used to have. Have you ever done something and, years later, kicked yourself in the butt for doing it? I sure have! Why, why, why did I sell those guitars? Or worse, why did I give them away?? I said out loud, "Sell or give away Axecalibur?!!" I was about to say "Never in a million years!!!" when with a pop, a sleepy-eyed Dracrevocsid, the Lady of Lake Taneycomo, appeared in my living room wearing a more or less frumpy flannel night gown which was much too big for her small frame.

"What, what, what??" she said. "What, what, WHAT???" she repeated. "Sell Axecalibur?? What madness is this?!! Have you lost your mind??" "No, no, no," I assured her, "I would never sell Axecalibur. I was just reminiscing about the guitars I used to have which I eventually sold." "Or gave away!" she reminded me. "Yes. 'Gave away'" I admitted. "I'm sorry to have awakened you," I said. "I was just sort of thinking out loud." She snorted and said, "Thinking? Thinking?? You call selling or giving away guitars 'thinking'?" "Believe me," I pleaded, "I'm never going to sell Axecalibur!!"

"See that you don't!" she snapped. "There are stiff penalties for mortals who sell or give away gifts given to them by Ladies of the Lakes!" she said, ominously, while patting the wand in her belt. She looked at her Rolex and said, "By Neptune's Trident, it's early! Where can a girl get a cup of coffee?" "It's in the kitchen," I replied, "Help yourself," whereupon she padded off to the kitchen, her dowdy gown dragging the floor behind her and muttering, "Gave away guitars! Gave away guitars...!"

While she was gone I thought about the guitars I had sold, or worse (I admitted) given away. There was the Fender Jaguar that I gave away to some girl I was dating at the time. The Gibson L-5 that I had traveled by train to Manny's Music in New York City to buy, only to be sold a few years later so I could buy some Anvil cases. My first guitar --- a Goya nylon string --- not expensive, but it had held a lot of sentimental value. I gave the Goya to girl whose most attractive feature was that she was the first female musician in the Army.

I could hear Dracrevocsid banging around in the kitchen. "Where are the coffee cups?" she asked. "The same place they were last time," I replied, "In the cupboard above the coffee pot." "Oh, yes," she said, "Now I remember". I thought about the Gibson L-5s solid body guitar I had sold. I don't even remember why I sold it. And the Aria jazz guitar I sold. Can't remember why I sold that one, either.

"Have you any sweetener?" asked Dracrevocsid. "There's sugar on the counter," I replied. "Not sugar! Sweetener! Like Equal or something similar. A Lady has got to watch her weight, you know." I told her it was in the cupboard above the sugar and went back to my thoughts. Perhaps the hardest memory to bear was the custom guitar and matching fretless bass that Jim Cunningham (link in side-bar) built for me. I had had to sell them to help pay some bills after I retired from the service and money was scarce. They were beautiful and, above all my other mistakes, that's the one over which I kick myself the most.

Coming back into the living room with cup of coffee in hand, Dracrevocsid said, "That's better. I could hear you thinking, you know. You were thinking quite loudly and I heard every word. Why is it that you mortals can't seem to get the big picture? Is it because you live for only a few decades in this mortal world? Instead of merely thinking in the short term, you should remember that there will be an eternity of jamming in Heaven. Great Caesar's Ghost! Haven't I told you about it many times. Oh, I'll admit that getting rid of your instruments on this mortal plane is unfortunate... even stupid! But should you make a mistake, as all mortals are wont to do, it can be corrected in Heaven!"

"Really?" I asked, "How do you mean?" "Well," she explained, "in heaven you can play any or all of the guitars you ever had on Earth. They will be expertly repaired, refurbished, and restored to their original quality --- some say even better than original. Or... if you like, you may have custom guitars built for you to your exact specifications, although I understand there is quite a waiting list. One hundred years or more! But let's face it. In eternity you can do a hundred years standing on your head!"

"Wow," I said, "I didn't know Angels built guitars." She said, "They don't! All guitar work is contracted out." "Contracted out?" I said, amazed, "To who?" She sputtered and corrected my grammar, "'To whom?', you mean." "Please," I replied, "I get enough of that from my wife. Alright, then, 'To whom' is the guitar work contracted out?" She took a bite of a biscuit which suddenly appeared in her hand, and said, "Mmmf-mmf, mmm mmmf!" "What's that?" I asked. "Sorry," she said after swallowing, "To the wood-sprites, of course. Nobody knows wood like wood-sprites. I thought you'd have figured that out on your own."

She looked at her Rolex again and said, "Look at the time! I must be going." She ran her fingers through her head and said, "Drat! I have 'bed head' again and not much time to deal with it. I have other clients to see this morning, and then there's that lunch meeting with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. Let's hope he's in a better humor this time than at our last meeting. I teased him about his tie and he shot some fire at me. Nearly singed my hair! Well, I really must be off. Good luck with your practicing today." She stood up, snapped her fingers and, with a pop, she vanished... taking with her my favorite coffee cup.

Man, I thought to myself, I sure hope she doesn't know the way to San Antonio. "I heard that!" came her voice from afar. "Now get off your bum and go practice!" I picked up Axecalibur and began to practice, being careful to guard my thoughts.

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