"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

15 February 2010

Left-Handed Banjo

Once a week, a handful of local musicians gather at the Large Town Hall and have themselves a jam. It's a mix of bluegrass, acoustic, folk, Americana, and gospel. Fun, relaxed, and free. Sometimes, there's food brought in. We all bring our own drinks.

A couple years ago, for an anniversary, and as something of a joke, I bought Sabina a banjo. Since, like me, she's left handed, I made sure the instrument favored the correct hand. It was during the time we were procuring the House of Owls and Bats and when she'd get too stressy, I'd mention the world banjo to get her to smile. A big part of this came from an old Steve Martin routine;

"You can't be depressed when you're playing the banjo..."

She's noodled with it now and again, but never learned how to play. My father once tuned it for her. Sometimes, when listening to bluegrass or William Elliot Whitmore, Sabina will get a wistful look in her eyes and make a remark about when she learns how to play the banjo, the songs she'll do.

At the last jam, more than one of the locals told Sabina to bring her banjo. She mentioned she couldn't play, but the musicians were not swayed. They offered to teach her.

So, we went to the jam with our customary bottle of wine, except this time Sabina brought her left-handed banjo. The second we walked in the door, a seat was made available for her. One of the locals made sure her banjo was in tune and set about showing her cords.

I was very proud of her. It's a start. After almost two years, it looks like she might be on her way to learning to play. Part of me can visualize us sitting out on the porch in the afternoon, sipping whatever drink we might be having at the time, and Sabina strumming William Elliot Whitmore on that left-handed banjo I got for her.

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