Jeff, let me show you a guitar.
Every guitar player has heard the stories: the late '50s Les Paul Grandpa bought, played a few times, then forgot about; an immaculate early 20th-century Martin picked up at a yard sale; the pawn shop pre-CBS Strat. They are still out there, old guitars from a time when even the "cheap" woods were good, when craftsmen built most everything by hand, when it all seemed it would last forever.
This is my story.
A few months back, as June melted into July, we traveled to Virginia Beach, where my wife, Catherine, grew up. We rented a beach house and spent our days in sea and sand and our evenings eating and drinking a little too much.
We were there for a couple of weeks and about midway through our stay we drove to Roanoke Rapids, NC, to visit my wife's Great Aunt Margaret.
We began our visit with a ritual stop at Second Street Lunch, a monument to doing it the way it's always been done. After lunch, as we all sat in Aunt Margaret's living room doing a bit of catching up and gossiping over pound cake, Margaret's son, Bob, noticed I might not be following along completely and said in his slow, articulate drawl, "Jeff, let me show you a guitar."
I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know Bob played the guitar.
I followed him upstairs to his old room and he reached behind a bed and pulled out a case. I noticed the Gibson logo and, I confess, my heart skipped a beat.
Inside, was an immaculate Gibson B25 Natural acoustic guitar that, to the best of Bob's memory, he purchased new in the early 60s. Bob told me that it was the first and only guitar he ever bought and did not know much about it. He did remember thinking the action was a bit high in those very early days and taking it to a shop to have the action lowered a bit and how he was never really convinced the repair shop had done a good job. But as I strummed a few chords, all felt and sounded fine to me. More than fine. Student model or not, Bob's old Gibson is one for the ages and it gave me memories I will always cherish.
And a story.