SOUR GRAPES: This old guitar

Jim Magdefrau

Birthday plans.

First. Wake up. Really important every day to achieve this goal.


Being on the CPAP routine, I’m nervous about waking up and seeing what my numbers are. I hit my numbers on this birthday morning. I achieved sleep like I was listening to a lecture in Kildee Hall. Might as well greet the day.

An old tradition dating back to the coffee crew at the bakery is getting a roll for everyone, and a round of coffee. I’ve tried to carry that on by getting assorted sweets from Shelly’s Sweets in Newhall. That was delayed this day, because I saw Don Anders leaving the store and walking to his scooter.

I will drop everything when it comes to music.

We talked music and accordions. We go back to the Newhall Hoe-Downs on Thursday nights, Arnie, Junior and Lillian. Making music. The next best thing to making music is talking about making music. He told of how he sold one of his accordions at his asking price.

I left a box of rolls at the Legion Hall in Van Horne. The Legion crew is back to drinking coffee in the morning. It’s fun to get caught in the crossfire of gossip and good-natured ribbing.

I told them I was 45. Or so. I remember I was the wrong age for about six months, as friends a year younger than me started turning 60. I thought I was still 60. Nope. I had aged one more year. It kind of slipped past me. Like the 1990s.

“Happy birthday” was sung to me when I made it out to my branch office at the country club. The reward was more rolls. Lunch? Another roll? I was on a roll.

I was humbled by the greetings and wishes all day. Then I received a note from a Boston friend, who asked if I was online. She had a song.

I will drop everything when it comes to music.

I went online and enjoyed a live stream of Mary Lou Lord playing “This Old Guitar” as a birthday present. A Neil Young song. Hanging on one of my walls is one of her “old” guitars. It’s played every day. The song reminds me that we don’t really own a guitar. It’s not ours to keep. We’re just taking care of it for a while. Like Don and his accordions.

Do I feel a year older? Sometimes I feel 10 years older. Other days it’s like I’m still in college, though slower and slightly misshaped.

But with friends, guitars and sweet rolls, I’m looking forward to the next year and birthday. Just don’t ask me which birthday it is.

And this was cool.

Birthday greetings.

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