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I have many precious memories of my dad, and one of my
favorites is watching and hearing him play his guitar. As a young boy I would sit at his feet and watch in awe as his fingers moved across the strings, creating sounds that were even sweeter than the finest honey. It made me want to get beginner guitar lessons from him or a tutor so I could emulate him.
As far back as I can remember, he
always had at least one guitar lying around the house, and he would
frequently pick one up and start pickin' and singin', and when he
did he usually drew a crowd!
Our family and friends loved to hear him perform the songs of Eddy
Arnold, Buck Owens, Hank Williams and other country music legends,
but my personal favorite was the
Carter classic "Wildwood Flower", a song that virtually
every guitar player to come along since the 1930's has played at one
time or another. And in my mind, no one ever played Wildwood
Flower better than my daddy - not even Mother Maybelle herself.
In his later years, dad mostly picked and sang gospel songs. "The
Old Rugged Cross", "What A Friend We Have In Jesus", "Amazing
Grace", "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"...I just loved to
hear him play those beautiful old hymns as mom sat by his side
singing along! Even though many years of living with arthritis had
left his fingers stiff and in almost constant pain, he played his
guitar from time to time right up until the very end. He could only
play for a few minutes at a time, but the sounds he created were
just as sweet to my ears as ever.
Dad owned several guitars over his 8+ decades, the last of which was
a gift from my brother Glen. When dad went to spend eternity playing
the music he loved in the Lord's band, mom returned that special
instrument to Glen who keeps it prominently on display in his home.
Yesterday, Cheria and I asked mom to go along with us as we
paid Glen and Tonnie a visit, and before we left their home I asked
Glen if I could take a picture of dad's guitar. What I ended up with
was very special indeed - a picture of mom holding it and "pickin'"
No, mom can't play the guitar any better than I can, but watching
her hold the last one that daddy ever played while grinning from ear
to ear just made my day! That special guitar will probably never
again ring out with the beautiful sounds of Wildwood Flower,
but we are blessed to still be able to hear mom's sweet voice
singing an old hymn on occasion. And I believe with all my heart
that one day she'll be singing along while dad plays Amazing
Grace with Jesus Himself enjoying every minute of it!
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