I know that once again I’m probably sounding like a typical parent and I suppose typical human being when I say: Time, where have you gone? Come back! It’s all going by so fast!
Tempus fugit, baby. And how. This weekend my oldest and I were out shopping around for an electric guitar.
An electric guitar! Next he’s going to be “shoegazing” onstage, his long hair obscuring his beautiful, sensitive, soulful features, as he strums and finger-plucks numerous riffs to the delight of his swooning, mostly female audience.
I’m not ready! I guess I’m glad now that I was a “stay at home Dad” for all those years, because at least I have all those (somewhat blurry! Time in its relentless onward rush has blurred the edges of these images already!) memories of him as a little chubby-cheeked baby riding down the slide and saying “higher!” and “faster, Daddy!” as I pushed him on the swing…
“OK kiddo, here comes an ‘underdoggie,’ think you can handle it?”
“Yes, Daddy, yes! I want a ‘super-underdoggie!'” Then a thoughtful pause. “But not a ‘super-duper,’ OK daddy? They’re too high.”
“OK kid you got it. You want it with ‘sprinkles’?”
(Meaning I tickle him a bit with my fingers at the apex of the push.)
“OK kid, one regular super underdoggie with sprinkles coming up. Here we go…”
Yay! Whee! Laughter and unalloyed joy.
Now, as Rutger Hauer says in his classic speech at the end of Blade Runner, “All these moments will be lost in time…like tears in the rain.”
It was fun shopping for the guitar, though. He’s been taking acoustic lessons for about a year. We went into a place called “Paul’s Boutique,” with guitars all hanging from the ceiling and hooked to the walls, which were lined with amplifiers of various sizes.
The salesman was really nice and let us fool around and try different guitars.
Finally I spotted one that seemed kind of like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of electric guitars– a little scruffy and overlooked by all. The sales guy said it’d been there a long time, no one wanted it.
And it was only $75! It was covered in stickers, maybe a little dinged up. It’d obviously been around, perhaps as part of a cool band.
It had a “humbucker” (sp?) instead of more newfangled triple-pickups, or something, which meant the sound was earthier, deeper, than some of the newer guitars, which are more light and bright.
The sales guy plugged my boy in and he played the first few chords of “Smoke on the Water.” You know: DOW…DOW…DOW…ROW-DOW DAH-DOW.”
The sound that emanated from the amp he was sitting on could best be described, I would say, as “Heavy.”
He looked up at me, eyes alit. He didn’t have to tell me his reaction. His eyes said it all: “Cool! Raw power! Me like!”
“I like this guitar, Dad!” he said.
And I saw a handsome young man sitting there, with auburn hair and long lashes, skinny and sensitive, holding his first electric guitar.
But I was also seeing the chipmunk-cheeked boy I pushed on the swings. And it made me sad and happy at the same time.