It was 1962, I was ten years old
Somebody in my house had to go to the doctor or something
And I was in my aunt’s house
On the other side of town
Never been there after dark before
Never been there by myself
I don’t remember what I was doing
But I saw my uncle come in the back way
He was carrying a bowling ball in a case in one hand
And a cased guitar in the other
He did not see me
and he laid them down in the back room
beside the washer and dryer
Suzanne, he called
Come here, I want you to look at something
She came to the doorway, wearing an apron
Both hands full of kitchen work
What is it now? She said.
And he opened the guitar case
And lifted the glorious instrument into the light
The light was from a bald bulb hung from a wire over the washer
The polished top flashed light all over the walls of the laundry room
What have you done, she said
Went to the auction
You were supposed to be bowling
Well, I got word they was going to auction a few things off
So you went to the auction
Yeah, I did
What did you spend for that thing?
Have you ever seen anything like it, he asked her
Yes. I have . I have a guitar, you know.
But it ain’t like this one
It looks the same to me
What did you give for that thing?
Hundred dollars (this was 1962, mind you)
A hundred dollars. We don’t have that kind of money.
I don’t know what I am going to do, she said
But this is the real thing
It ain’t like that thing you’ve got
This here is the same guitar they play on the Opry
I’ve seen ‘em
They didn’t know what they had, honey
Some guy who owned this thing died
This guitar is worth twice what I paid
It’ll keep going up
The point isn’t what it’s worth
It’s what we have
or don’t have, I should say.
He finally set the guitar back into the case and walked past her into the kitchen
When they were both gone from the room I opened the case again
And looked on that bright face of ancient, perfect spruce
And the fine red tint on the maple neck
I, then ignorant of frets and intervals,
brushed the strings and listened to the fine hum
resounding in that empty, silent room.