Memories: The Guitar

My dad tended bar. Not exactly Norman Rockwell, but the tableau was characteristic, formative. Being a kid, company of grownups, learning about the world and how to look at it. Of course this was back when a kid in a smoky Colorado bar full of day drinkers was not considered odd. I was fed quarters to keep me occupied at the pinball machine.

One of my more vivid memories is of a very drunk Hispanic man trying to sell his guitar. This was in a rundown neighborhood bar in Five Points, probably late in the afternoon, with half a dozen regulars on the stools. It was a worn acoustic guitar of the sort you might see in a traditional Mexican band. The man got more insistent and more loud, and finally my dad said okay he'd give him \$25 for it. I forget how long they haggled, but when the drunk rose from his barstool to make the exchange he missed his footing and crashed to the floor gripping the guitar, which fractured along the fretboard near the base of the neck. It was a pathetic scene, where anger and embarrassment and sadness stew together and no one knows what to say.

Anyway my dad gave the man \$25 and took the guitar. He glued the neck, and the guitar was a fixture in his house for many years, though it was unplayed and likely unplayable.

Strange the things that stick with you, half a century later.