There was a time, way back when, that I played guitar for a very brief period. No idea why, but that’s what our prompt of “musical” brought to mind and so that’s where we ended up for today’s post. As a child of the 70’s, I was in love with the singer songwriters of the time. Amazingly talented people who could simply grab a guitar and write something catchy and incredible that moved my heart. Though I always wanted to play the guitar like they did, this wasn’t an instrument taught in my school so I ended up playing the violin instead. Don’t get wrong, I loved it, but a part of me still longed to strum a guitar and write songs. You can’t really sing along while playing a violin. It wasn’t until high school that the urge grew too much for me and I decided to try guitar. My dad bought me a mail order one which was delivered when we weren’t home and the postman strangely thought the best place to conceal it was under the car in the driveway. Luckily, we found it before someone backed over it, and I soon begin lessons. It was all a dream come true, until, months later, a car accident would change everything.
My guitar instructor was wonderful and introduced me to classical guitar music. This meant strumming with all fingers rather than using a guitar pick. I adored it and practiced like crazy, quickly becoming rather good, strumming my way through all kinds of wonderful music. Soon after, I began my last year of high school, excited to serenade my friends. But by the time the holiday season arrived, I was equally busy with lots of various holiday parties. I was President or Vice-President of several clubs and the end of the year meant hopping to various gatherings. It was driving home from the very last gathering, perhaps overly exhausted, that everything changed. I don’t quite remember what happened, but think I may have nodded off briefly, and suddenly there was a horrible sound of crushing metal and a fierce impact. I stumbled out of my crumpled car, still wearing a silly Christmas tie that played music. I don’t have many memories of what happened next. The clearest memory after that was waking up in a hospital bed with two fractured hips. And, also, a faint feeling of thinking how creepy it must have been for whoever found me to see a stumbling boy mumbling “help me” to a slow, tinny electronic rendition of Jingle Bells.
My head was bandaged when I awoke, my ear had been partially severed in the crash as well. It was restored, without any visible scarring, though I still like to think of it as my Van Gogh moment. Soon, a giant bag of letters and cards arrived. Apparently, news travels fast and when it travels through the grapevine, people often get things wrong. Many thought I was dead, but I still appreciated their kind thoughts and well wishes. Not many people have a chance to hear what someone might say about them after they are gone. But other than hobbling around on crutches for a few weeks, I was miraculously alive. One injury, however, was small yet devastating. The index finger of my right hand, was broken in several places. It healed only to a point, with limited moment. I could still hold a violin bow, but I now lacked the coordination required to strum my beloved guitar. I was crushed and lost, at first, but soon discovered that I could still hold a pencil to write and draw. Especially easily, as it turns out, since my finger seemed to be slightly locked in that position. Life doesn’t always work out like we hope, but if we continue to have hope, it always delivers something wonderful. And though I never became that singer songwriter of my dreams, I don’t have any regrets. Just a fond and lasting memory of that time I played guitar.
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