The Guitar Lessons by Life Treasure Collector
Michael A. Antus is a great musician and guitar teacher and lives in Minnesota, USA. He has many years experience in teaching music to various people. We asked him to talk about one of the most inspirational stories he had throughout his career. He shared the following remarkable story of a man that shows the human determination and Love of Life.
“In 2005 I had a call from a gentleman asking about Guitar Lessons. He said he’d bought his Guitar in 1950. “Fifty five years” I said. “What made you wait so long”. “Well” he said. “I was a Farmer, with eight kids. I was involved with my Church, and School, I’ve buried my Wife, and several of my kids, before it’s too late I’d like to give it a try”. “Do you think it’s too late” he asked.
“Well” I said, “You won’t know till you try”.
I went to meet him one sunny Summer afternoon. As we were walking from his house to his Guest House, (where he kept his Guitar) I notice he had an artificial leg. Just making conversation, I asked him if he’d lost the leg because of Diabetes. “No son” he said, “I lost it in the Second World War”.
He pulled the Guitar case out of a closet, and set it on a table. Inside was a burgundy colored Gibson, Thin Body Electric. (The type BB King, and Chuck Berry made famous). It still had the store price tags on it. It was in “Mint” condition, never Played. The first thing out of my mouth, after “Wow”, was “I’ll give you a thousand dollars for this, and throw in a new Guitar”. “No” he said, “I want to play this one”.
I spent several hours at his house the first day. I changed the Strings, (they hadn’t been played, but they “oxidize” over time). I had promised him, he’d be able to play at least three songs before I left. I taught him three Chords, “C”, “F”, and “G”. Armed with these three, and a little rhythm, he played “Jesus Loves Me”, Happy Birthday, and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. We became good friends.
When I’d ask him how old he was, all he ever answered was “Older than Dirt”. I figured he has about ninety years old.
I tell my students, “New is New, no matter what you Do”. Even a Surgeon’s hands are awkward on a Guitar at first. His old hands, beaten up by decades of hard work, were stiff and frail. But he was determined.
Within a couple of months of playing that valuable old Guitar. He would go to a local “Retirement/Nursing Home”, sit in the “Day Room”, and play and sing for anyone who might be around. Soon, he developed a small “following” he’d invite others to come up and Sing a Solo, and always encouraged everyone to join in.
I joined him a couple times, I remember looking over and seeing him smiling from ear to ear. In fact everyone in the room was Smiling, including me.
I was Proud to have seen his “Old Dream” go from a Wish, to a Goal, to Reality, and Fun.
It is Never Too Late…“