Last year we were at a small music festival. My son, Arun was sitting perfectly still on my lap.
The solo guitarist on stage was re-tuning his guitar. I’ve played guitar for nearly 30 years but I couldn’t tell what he was up to. My disabled five year old (at the time) looked up at me and said one word: “Everlong.”
I paused for a second, catching up with his meaning. Eventually I got there, “You’re right Arun. He’s re-tuning his guitar to play the Foo Fighters. He’s going to play Everlong.”
And indeed he did.
Arun has cerebral palsy, autism and learning difficulties. Aged six he cannot read or write, dress or undress himself or even hold a pen particularly well. He can however tell when the bottom E on a six string guitar is being tuned down to a D and from that figure out which song is going to be played.
Arun doesn’t have the fine motor skills or co-ordination to be able to pick out individual notes but there is nothing he enjoys more than grabbing a guitar and strumming along to his favourite songs. To be honest, it would be fair to say that Arun is obsessed with guitars.
He was particularly excited this week. Last weekend, there was a knock at the door and a DHL deliver man handed over a big, oblong box. I bought it into the lounge and started to unpack it.
Arun was hovering around, excitedly. “Is it your new guitar daddy? Is it a new black Gibson, daddy?”
I took the big guitar case out of the box and undid the clips. I opened it up and there it was – a brand new Gibson ES335, in black.
Arun was bouncing, “You’ve got a new black Gibson daddy! I’ve got a new guitar.”
Off he scampered to fetch his newish half size acoustic guitar. He came back into the lounge strumming excitedly. He sat next to me as I tuned up the new addition to our guitar family and started playing.
Arun was delighted. Almost as much as me.
The grin spread on his face, “Is it your guitar daddy?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered proudly.
Arun’s grin grew even wider, “I’ve got a new black Gibson.”
I was about to put him right but then he smiled, looking up at me with his adorable big brown eyes. I remembered the values of sharing and caring we preach.
I tousled his hair,” I suppose you have son. I suppose you have.”
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