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  • Writer's pictureKaren Andrews

My Son Plays Guitar

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

My son is a musician, and plays guitar. I say that way because not every musician is a guitar player, just like not every guitar player is a musician. My son has what we call a "God Given Talent", and it is the essence of who he is. He is VERY good!...and I’m saying that with no bias whatsoever. <wink, wink>. Tonight I'm watching him and "his" band play at a local venue, and loving every minute of it.


I'm with my group of friends, who are actually the parents of my son’s girlfriend. We go to almost every show. After all, his girlfriend is co-lead guitar player in the band. Right now her parents have scattered a little as they make their way around the room.


I happen to be sitting alone at the moment. I'm caught up in my thoughts and trying to figure out the Secret of Life. I start to recall the silence of the room when my son and the rest of the band were loading in, and how 5 of the nicest and calmest people in the world transformed the silence into this writhing, moveable, energetic, musical ecstasy. When you think about it...it must be incredible to have that kind of talent, and have that kind of impact on a room full of strangers. There is nothing I love more than watching and listening to my son play...be it at home, in the living room, in the garage, on the porch, or on stage. It is the beat to my heart! I watch him nod to the drummer and the lead singer looking for his que to begin his solo. As he gets cranked up, and into the place in his heart where guitar solos live, I’m suddenly transported to Kissimmee, Florida, in 1994.


Photo Credit: Bain Testa

My Son, performing live


I’m in a dimly lit 3 bedroom apartment, freezing cold by the blasting air conditioner. I see an old console TV from the 80’s sitting in the corner. I see an old love seat that consists of milk crates with cushions on top. Next to it is an old sofa that reminds me of a micro-suede peacock. Somewhere off to the left is the dining room with an aquarium. I’m standing just inside the doorway in this 2nd floor apartment, freezing and tucked away from the 105 degree heat and humidity outside.


In this dark cold room, I see my 2 friends sitting on their worn sofa with scattered beer cans strewn on the coffee table left from the night before. One of my friends is strumming his guitar, wait...his BC Rich Mockingbird rather, while the other is begging for his favorite song. Suddenly, my friend lays into a vicious guitar solo.


A feel small smile comes across my face at that memory, and my eyes well with tears.


I remember…


Joe works so hard to impress me in hopes I’ll go out with him. He is a great guitar player, but not really my type. I laugh to myself as he tries to impress me and say the right things. Eventually, I slowly let my guard down, and the broken heart I was experiencing at the time slowly subsides. He becomes my best friend…and after everything seemed to fall into place.


Memories…funny things. So random, too. It must be the wailing guitar up on stage that stirred up that memory.


Suddenly I wipe a tear from the corner my eye, and I hope no one noticed. I look up to see my son on stage. He winds up the solo, looks to the lead singer to que him he has finished, and looks to me to see what I thought of his solo. The lead singer gives me a quick nod, my son's girlfriend smiles to me from stage. I’m a PROUD MOM and they know it! I don't miss a note when they play!


Yep, today in I’m one lucky lady, and a long ways since that Kissimmee, FL, memory. I thoroughly enjoy being Mom and watch my only child play on stage. I sit at my little table, sipping a little glass of red wine on this cool summer night. It’s Merlot, my favorite.


I close my eyes and sip my small glass…I am back in Kissimmee. I hear Joe intensely play his fanatical emotions on the guitar. Joe looks up, and gently looks deep in my eyes… and almost touches my soul.


…Oh, so long ago… I’m wondering how in the world my journey got me from "there" to "here".


All the feelings, and all my memories. Like a warm hug it all embraces me and I enjoy that warm place for a second.. I see it all so incredibly clear. I genuinely smile, such a happy time. Somehow the memories start falling down my cheeks.


…I remember...


Slowly I remember. the phone call.. Joe died. So did his cousin, and only a few years apart...and so unexpected. It doesn't seem that long ago I was standing in their apartment. It seems almost like yesterday, and so long ago at the same time. The memories are so vivid.


I take a deep breath, and come back to an old plate of soggy nachos to my right. I hear people laughing, glasses clinking, drums beating..., and I see my son on stage. I smile a mother's smile. Yes, I've never been more proud than I am than this moment...watching my Little Man onstage who is nearing 27 years old, living out his dreams!


Decades have gone by since those memories, almost 3 decades. By now, I'm ashamed to admit I almost forgot what Joe looked like, and how he moved. I forget the look on his face. I forget his innocence, and his occasional vulnerability. I forget the color of his eyes, and how he carried himself when he wore his Beloved Leather Jacket--geez, he LOVED that jacket! I forget even why I fell in love with him.


But sometimes I see it again. I see that look in his eye, I see his sensitivity, I see his love of guitar. I see bits and pieces of the best parts of Joe alive and well in my son. My son doesn’t know, recognize, or even understand pieces of himself - but I do. Joe would proud of the guitar player his son turned out to be. He’d be even more proud of the man he has become. Yes, there is a long story, bur unfortunately, Joe died before Father and Son ever met.


Life is funny. I’m sitting here by myself...listening to the band play on a Southern Maine Saturday night. My son's very own, and eerily similar, well-worn and equally Beloved Leather Jacket laid aside for later. I hear the lead singer belting out the best part of the chorus, and watch the drummer toss up the drumsticks and catch them. My heart is so full of love, that love droplets are caressing my cheeks.


How did I get to be so lucky!?


My son, in his leather jacket

My friends scattered across the room like social butterflies, and I'm sipping my wine. All the years that have passed, all the things I barely remember…I see living right in front of me. My son has no idea. I smile a long smile, and more memories fall down my cheeks.


After the show, my son loads up. He grabs his own Beloved Leather Jacket, and comes over to give me a hug. My life is complete-nothing else mat. After my hug, I reach for his girlfriend and "high-five" the rest of the band. We all individually make our way home only to greet the next day so we can do it all again at the next show.


Yea, this young guitar player is the BEST! No bias, honest! <wink, wink>


And the secret to life? Believe it or not, life will go on...



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