Saturday, April 8, 2017

35. CLUB

Sharla lives around the corner and up Mountain Road, maybe two miles from my house, though I’ve never measured it. She and Frank are loving stewards over a beautiful piece of land tucked into the foothills of Fruit Heights. Frank quietly prunes his orchard and tends their creatures. It’s not in his nature to call attention to himself. Same with Sharla. They are the living definition of the term, salt-of-the-earth.
One day, years ago, Sharla called and asked if I would be interested in teaching guitar to a group of women. “We thought about starting a book club, but really, we all want to learn guitar.” I love Sharla, and respect her, so I did not give the automatic response I have given repeatedly over the years…that I only teach one night a week for Farmington City, and if they want to learn from me they’ll have to go there. Instead, I asked her to tell me more. Really, I wanted to know the when and where, but mostly the who. And, truth be known, it was the list of who that compelled me to agree to give it a go. There is something about the people I know who come from Fruit Heights: they are real, and funny, and kind, and talented. This is, of course, a generalization. I can throw a rock into Fruit Heights from my driveway. Fruit Heights is basically Farmington-North, and we all know how I love Farmington. Anyway, I agreed to come teach this club of women how to play guitar: Friday mornings, 10 am, at Sharla’s house.
That was something like 7 years ago. Sharla and Frank basically turned their living room into the guitar club room. The furniture is left in a circle, unless they have company on Sunday, and the coffee table holds pencils and papers and songs from weeks before. I love that space. I love walking under that old nut tree in their front yard, and stepping up to the back porch. They always leave the door open for me. And the kitchen counter is cleared off so I can lay my gig bag down and retrieve my guitar. I feel like a mortician when I do that, by the way… the casket of my gig bag fitting snugly around my guitar. I carry my instrument into the living room and sit with my friends. I have to allot an hour to teach a half hour lesson, because there is more than playing guitar to share.
One week Sharla was wearing a tee shirt she had made. Girls with Guitars, it said. If not for the young’uns that lower our average age, we really might call ourselves Grannies with Guitars.
We’ve been through a lot together, we Girls with Guitars. Births, and deaths, heartache and almost unbearable joy. Shay’s pregnancy, and the birth of her baby in the Maverick parking lot. Sharla and Frank’s mission to Romania (by the way, we still used their house to gather for that year and a half they were gone). The premature arrival of Sarah’s first grandson, who survived in spite of being born the size and weight of a baby bird. We rejoiced the first day Sarah finally got to hold him, and the day, months later, when he got to come home with his momma and daddy. We strummed our instruments to the laughter of Kimmy’s little boys playing in the other room; celebrated when Reva had a break from her crazy life and was able to join us; lived vicariously the good Karma of Ali’s yoga and general good vibes. Julie came after her morning hikes up into the foothills.
Through the years a delightful collection of women have come and gone, depending on their schedules. Every single one of them has added to the compelling dynamic of our club. We fit a little Travis-picking in between the stuff of life. These girls have become killer guitar players! They astound me with their skill, their devotion, their willingness to learn new things and unlearn old things.
We meet on Thursdays now, at 10 am. I drive to my friend Mel’s house afterward to teach another group of Girls with Guitars (an equally beautiful and powerful group of women).
Then I teach for Farmington City until 8 pm Thursday nights.  I teach over 50 students on Thursdays. I’m tired on Friday.
The other day I asked my friend Margaret how she does it; teaching sewing five days a week, eight hours a day? “Well”, she said, “I know if I didn’t come down and teach I would just fall asleep in my chair, and what good would that do me?” Margaret is 91 years old.

So, I’m thinking, ladies, that we have a ways to go here. I think if we don’t stop it won’t be hard to start up again. There are plenty of songs to be learned. And with God’s mercy, we will be able to play through arthritis in our fingers. If not, can we just get together and pretend?
The original Girls with Guitars


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  2. So Happy to be a member of your Club! You are an amazing teacher and so kind to share your talent with us. Maybe one of these years I will advance from my 8th grade level of playing! 😜 Thanks Cor for sharing and teaching. ❤

  3. Shucks, Cori.

    And ditto to what Libby said (except I look forward to achieving the 8th grade level). I stand all amazed that you would agree to come hang with us and share your magic.

    We so love you!