Last Lesson? And We Handled It Like Manly Men

This post was started back in May, a week before the Sierra Surf Music Camp.  It was subjugated, however, to other ideas, thoughts, and anything else to keep from coming face to face with the reality of having a friend move five hours away.  Intervening events just pushed the post back further and further.

Of course, denial and avoidance are the manly way to approach what can -- or should --be emotional moments or events.

The week before camp, Paul came to the Doghouse.  Both Kyle -- our nephew -- and I were scheduled for a lesson.  Paul and Kyle went first.  As they played and talked, my attention focused on a combination of important and unimportant matters ranging from what had to be done in my day job before leaving for camp to what had to be packed for camp.

Paul and Kyle finished their session with “Pipeline,” which certainly was a harbinger of things to come at camp.

As I plugged in my guitar, Becky sat down at the keyboard and proudly reported that she had started lessons.  She told Paul how he might be interested in the method that she was following as it did not start with notation.  Paul said, “That sure is not how I learned.”  She demonstrated by playing a couple of the chord progressions covered in her first few lessons.

I interjected that Becky just had learned the chords to thousands of songs.  The method covered “bubble gum chords” and the 12-bar blues progression right out of the box.  That led us into “Gloria.”  Paul and I started the instantly recognizable three-chord progression and invited Becky to play along.  After a few minutes, stage fright -- or boredom -- brought her playing to a stop.

Paul and I continued.  Paul sang.  I managed to keep up.  We then talked about the long ad lib versions by The Doors and Patti Smith.  We played some more.  The longer we played, the more my left hand burned.  When we finished, we both stretched our fingers and shook out the kinks in our hands.  “Lenny Kaye must have hands of steel!”

Famous three-chord progressions naturally took us to “Louie, Louie.”  We encouraged Becky to play along.  She demurred.  Playing shifted to B.S. and my probably boring Paul with the story of the Wailers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Kingsmen.   He apparently had been less than assiduous in reading our blog as he expressed surprise at the timing of the recordings, etc.

After we went through the originals which the Pups would play at camp, Becky told us that she wanted to learn “Peter Gunn.”  Paul and I launched into an extended “Peter Gunn.”  We exchanged leads.  Afterwards, Paul said, “I like where you play that.”  I responded, “You taught me that.”  Paul replied, “No, I don’t play it where you did.”  That would be the revelation -- or the lesson -- of the lesson:  I can do some things on my own.

Our playing time was up.  We sat on the couches for awhile and talked about camp.  Becky told Paul that she would email him some information that she had found on having interactive lessons via the internet.

Paul and I walked out together to the Pyrovan.  He had a vintage Ludwig drum kit there.  “It’s all original except for the sparkly look.”  He said that the Ludwig kit was to be part of his inventory for the new store in Ferndale.

As Paul climbed into the van, we shook hands.  “See you at camp next week.”  Deep down, I knew that we just completed our last regular lesson.  Yet, like men do, we did not say so or even say good-bye.  Yes, we handled it the manly way.

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