My most memorable gift stands right behind me as I write. In 1962 My parents gifted me with my Harmony guitar. Over the years, I’ve owned Martin’s, Gibson’s, resonator guitars, banjos, and various other music-making equipment. None has had the endurance of my Harmony, Charlie – the worried man’s companion, the name came from a Kingston Trio song.
Charlie was coddled on road trips when it rained or got cold- clothing and waterproofs were wrapped around it by preference to human warmth or dryness.
It was the cause of more than one nasty fight with people trying to steal it. Steal from me, and you might wind up hurt. Used strategically, it felled drunks in bar fights, which is part of why I avoided performing in stews. Several women have accused me of loving the Harmony more than then – if they couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen, they should have gotten out.
Life for the Harmony probably started as a less expensive copy of a Martin guitar. But the makers overdid it, and the tones accurately imitate a Martin. So it sits in my office today, ready to be picked up and tuned. After all these years, it is enjoying a partial retirement. But every once in a while, the strings seem to chord by themselves. It’s like it’s saying, “hey, remember that road trip down from Montreal in ’69? Damn, it was cold!”