Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Guitar Lessons w/ the HandyGraham

On Friday, I had the opportunity to participate in something absolutely amazing.

For quite a few months now, I've been working on switching out all the doors in one of my favorite clients' houses. One of the reasons that I enjoy handyman work is the reason that, most of the time, it offers a lot of variety in problem-solving, which thankfully keeps my brain occupied. As I near the end of my task, I'd be lying if I said that the monotony isn't getting to me just a little bit. (On Friday, I replaced doors 17, 18, & 19 out of 21.) If I weren't such a big fan of this client, I may even have tapped out already.

I was already having a less-than-joyous day as my truck is not running at 100% right now. It's just not a pleasant way to start your mornings. I spent the rest of the day working on these doors and was able to remain rather positive for most of it. My client's kids were home from school and their grandfather was there as well to keep an eye on them. My client's ten-year-old daughter had a friend over and they spent the day playing with the computer, making music videos and other fun activities. It reminded me of when my sister and I used to get to stay home from school at that age...we usually just fought over the Nintendo.

The day passed by a bit slowly...not as slowly as my sales-repping days @ the record company, mind you...that job almost did me in. I was finally onto my last adjustment for the day for which I had to interrupt one of the girls' music videos. I smiled when I saw that they were not dancing to the radio this time, but actually working around a guitar that one of them had gotten for Christmas. They both gave me a quick embarrassed smile, which passed almost immediately, and they wasted no time moving on to tell me they were putting together a band, but neither of them knew how to sing, play, or even tune the guitar. I told them I could at least tune the guitar for them, if not teach them a chord or two when I finished up the door and was encouraged by their immediate excitement.

They agreed to go grab some water while I made my final adjustments on the door, and while I did so, I took in the beauty of their excitement, their invincible hope, and maybe envied the learning potential they have as they're so young. It wasn't long before they returned - ready to rock. So, I tuned the guitar and played a riff or two to get their attention (a little trick I learned working with elementary school kids in college). I gave the guitar back and moved right into teaching them both the D chord. I only wish you all could have seen their face as they both individually cracked the code and the guitar made music in their hands for them the first time.

On the way to work that day, I was listening to NPR and heard an interesting story about Barack Obama's two years at Occidental College in Los Angeles. When one of President-elect Obama's former professors, Roger Boesche, was asked if he saw this kind of potential in Barack Obama, to which he replied:
"I cannot say that I looked across my class and said, 'Now that guy will even be in the Senate, much less the president,'" says Boesche. "But he stood out. He was very articulate."
This quote came back to me as I saw the look of joy on these girls' faces, and it made me think about the first chord I learned on the guitar. It was like I'd finally been able to harness the magic of something I'd only ever been able to watch and listen to in the past. Who knows the implications of the insignificant little nugget of information I shared with those girls.

If these young ladies get to enjoy music half as much as I do at some point in their life, it'll make me smile.

1 comment:

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