In the small village of LaPatrie in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, they have hand crafted Seagull guitars for more than a quarter century. This fact made giving up Jeff’s gorgeous cello a little easier to handle.
He hadn’t played in over a year. The cello that had once brought him great comfort when hormones raged and emotions flared was tucked in the back of the closet. For years, he would take out the bow and pull it across the strings in long methodical strokes, creating music to calm his soul and frayed nerves. He bought Yo Yo Ma on his ITunes. But the pressure to practice for orchestra became too much, the classes too strict. The joy out of music had been taken from him.
I held onto the cello. Waiting. Waiting.
Finally, a few months ago Jeff said he wanted a guitar. I want to make music again, he said. Putting on my best poker face, I told him that if he still wanted a guitar by his birthday I would consider getting him one. I wanted him to develop a yearning, so that music would become part of him again, bring him peace when he needed it most and invoke the muse to fuel his creativity. Secretively, I began researching beginner guitars that would inspire him with quality to last a lifetime.
As the long days of summer stretched on, he spoke longingly of a guitar and suggested selling the cello while he was at camp. In truth, it was the only way I could afford it and it would offset costs for a soccer camp in Seattle where scouts will be watching his team play.
Walking out of the house and handing over that cello was not easy. But then the mother told me she had just discovered her son Grant had been Jeff’s reading buddy, when Jeff was in 6th grade and Grant was in 2nd grade. The serendipity made me feel I was doing the right thing and I released my grip on the cello and grasped the check instead.
Jeff returned from camp and the next day we went to pick out his guitar. He gravitated at first toward the cheaper models, concerned that it was too much money. No. I wanted him to have quality. I made him close his eyes and feel the neck of a few guitars, strum the strings and listen to the tenor that appealed most to him.
He chose the hand crafted Seagull guitar from Canada. The government subsidizes music makers so that their prices are competitive with models made in China by machines. And here in American we subsidize large industrial corn fields so more corn syrup can go into just about everything we eat, making us dependent upon pharmaceuticals for resulting ailments.
But I digress, for what is most important today is the music has returned to fray our frazzled nerves and calm our souls. And my boy is making music again.