One spring break I was getting ready to return to college. My mom and I had agreed that I would go back to school in my dad’s car. My dad didn’t get that memo.
Not having his car keys handy to put my belongings in his trunk, I staged them behind his car.
Daddy, believing his car was blocking the other car, decided to move it. As he backed down our steep driveway, he noticed my squashed duffle bag, etc., in the driveway in front of him. Slowly it dawned on him what was happening.
I don’t remember how I figured out what had happened, but I do remember walking out looking through my things with my dad. At first, things didn’t seem so bad. My tennis racket was wrecked, but it was replaceable. One shoe was ruined, but it wasn’t my favorite. However, as we inventoried the damage, we realized that my 12-string guitar was missing.
I remember walking hand in hand with dad to look for the remains of the guitar. My heart was in my throat. Unlike the tennis racket, my guitar couldn’t simply be replaced. I loved that guitar. I didn’t want another.
I was mad at myself for leaving my guitar behind the car and mad at Daddy for not looking there. He was holding my hand to help me through the loss of my beloved instrument. I was holding his to help him assuage his guilt. Looking back, that couple of minutes—that walk of dread—crystallized our adult father-daughter relationship.
We weren’t perfect; we had made mistakes. We’d get through them by holding hands—literally and figuratively. We’d find the pieces, pick them up, and move forward.
As it turned out, my guitar was caught on the undercarriage of his car and dragged down the driveway. The cardboard case was much, much worse for wear, but the guitar was intact.
Decades later that guitar has a very sturdy protective case (as does its guitar siblings), but I haven’t been able to part with the cardboard case. It’s really not good for anything, but I love its symbolism.
(c) Laura Hedgecock 2013
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