My Les Paul has been sitting in my music room all week. Full disclosure: up until Sunday morning, its primary purpose was kid-bait; in order to get my kids to do what I wanted, I bribed them with a view of the guitar. Understand this: it lies in a case of pink velvet. Hot pink velvet. On top of it is a silky pink (hot pink) coverlet. Have I mentioned my daughter is five? And a princessy kind of a gal?
It was a full weekend. Lila went to her final Suzuki recital. Curled on my lap for most of it, she watched the other violinists with complete fascination. If she could, this is what she would do for a living: watch other kids play violin. It trumps everything, even my hot pink Les Paul (which I still, up to that point, had not played.) When it was her turn to play, Emily escorted her front and center, and I shimmied around other parents to video the event. She played “Andantino,” which Tom refers to as “Cappucino.” When she was finished, she ran into my arms and I carried her like a baby back to our seats. Even though I am her practice coach, and I have been watching her every day for 9 months, I still can’t believe someone so small can play such a complex instrument.
After the recital, we had to get to a friend’s birthday party, and I gave her the choice of stopping to get her promised vanilla milk or to go to Downtown Sounds to get her Suzuki Book 2 CD which Emily had told her she was ready to start listening to. Downtown Sounds, she said not missing a beat.
On the way home from the birthday party, she said, “This is the best today of my whole life.”
And it got better. William came over to spend the night, armed with five, count them five, cardboard guitars. Suzuki Book 2 got kicked off the CD player for the Blue Album (The Beatles 1967-70) and the three kids tossed their cardboard axes over their heads (Katryna had given each guitar a strap made of ribbon or string) and they proceeded to air guitar/interpretive dance to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Then we ate dinner on our newly accessible porch. The sun was out for the first and last time in days, and we had to agree: it was the best today of our lives.
The next day, I overheard Johnny say, “I get to be Newissa!”
“No, Johnny,” William patiently explained. “It’s John, Paul, George or Ringo! And I get to be Paul.”
“And I’m George,” said Lila, who still remembers our dog by the same name.
“And I am John,” Johnny said. They called me into the room to see their show. This time “Strawberry Fields Forever was playing.” The commenced to sway and strum their cardboard guitars, though for some reason Paul McCartney was playing Johnny’s foamalin.
Paul McCartney pointed to a crumpled piece of paper on the ground in front of the band. “This is our set list.”
John Lennon said, “Dis is NOT da Beatles! Dis is too SCAY-WEE!” And it was pretty scary. Have you listened to the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” lately? I fast forwarded to “Penny Lane,” which, if you pretend “finger pie” means something akin to “finger paint,” is a fairly family-friendly song.
Then Paul McCartney said, “You could play too, Nerissa. There are actually two Les Pauls in the house.” He pointed at his own cardboard guitar which indeed is a cut out of a Les Paul. So, remembering that I was supposed to be practicing my chops anyway for Jam for the Fans, I dutifully plugged in my Mesa Boogie which has been horribly neglected and relegated to the basement, and let it warm up. I pulled out my electric guitar and tuned it up. It is one of the best guitars in the history of guitars.
I commenced to play my two big electric numbers, “Bulletproof” and “Alfred Hitchcock.” John Lennon put his hands over his ears. “Stop, Newissa! Pway your udder guitar! Pway ‘Saddle up Girls’!”
Almost like Dylan going electric.