I pulled up, knowing I only had a few minutes to spend with him. I was on my way out of town and I was already late. I walked in and there he was with my dad, sitting on the couch where Nanny used to sit.  Sweet Papa. I sat beside him and held his hand. After a few minutes he asked if we could sing a few songs together. In that moment I thought about the last time I'd  played the guitar months earlier, when Nanny was in the hospital. I'd practiced her favorite song all night so I could play it for her at her bedside. I drove, with bruised fingers, as fast as I could to the hospital with my guitar, but it was too late. And I cried.  

But I couldn't tell him that. And oh, how I wanted to play with him. So he pulled out his guitar, and my father took his, and the three of us sang a few. He still played beautifully, only missing a few beats. It was funny, he still beamed holding onto that guitar. It was as if the last fifty years hadn’t happened, and he was still that young man whose hands could play anything on that electric guitar. Only now, these hands were older and more unsteady. But still amazing.

So we sang, talked, and laughed. And then we put the guitars away. I told him how much I loved him, and after saying goodbye, I got in my car and drove the long drive to my destination.

I thought a lot about my grandfather while I drove. I thought about my father. I remembered playing guitar with them, and singing. I remember secretly watching my father’s fingers as he strummed his guitar, so that I wouldn’t miss a chord. And I remember watching him watch my grandfather as my grandfather played his guitar. How I would wish those jam sessions could last forever. How I wish my grandfather could last forever.

But none of us do.       

So maybe tonight I’ll take my guitar out of the closet.  I’ll dust it off. Perhaps I’ll print out one of his favorite songs and learn to play it. I’ll show up on his doorstep, ask him to tune my guitar, and then I’ll tell him I learned that song I’ve been meaning to play for him. He’ll smile that smile. And then I’ll play it.

He’ll tap his foot to the rhythm as we both strum our guitars and sing. And although I am an adult, and he’s a bit unsteady, I’ll be that little girl again, looking up at a giant of a man, playing this amazing instrument with strong hands. 

And we’ll sing.

And his voice will be as beautiful to me as it ever was.

10/19/2014 10:30:39 pm

Aww . I love playing with papa it is so awesome, fun, touching, and kind of sad sometimes he is so talented and I wish that I only had a liiitle bit of his talent. That would Be amazing I love you Becky great blog!! we need to both go over there and sing together I miss you I love your family and I miss your family.

10/20/2014 06:50:21 am

Mirranda, Papa loves you! You always were the talented one :) We love you!


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