This piece sounds really self-pitying; and it was. I was whipped. Since then, a few things have changed. Due to the onset of arthritis in my hands, I went back to playing guitar after we moved to Red Wing in 2015. In fact, I'm playing more now than I have in the last 30 years. I still suck, but I'm enjoying myself. I have been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, which pretty much puts a terminal punctuation mark in my future. I'm not sure what the point in allowing this to post in 2020 would be, but I decided to let it stay on the queue to remind myself of . . . something.
I bought the Dobro (pictured at left) from one of the blues guys who used to play at the Howard Street Tavern, sometime around 1976. It was a well-used instrument when I bought it. Back in those good days, I ran sound occasionally at the Tavern, rented guitars, amps, and other gear to the bar when a traveling musician or band needed gear that wasn't available from the usual culprits, and bought and sold instruments, petals, and amps to pretty much anyone who called in the middle of the night strung-out, hung-over, in jail, or broke in Omaha or Lincoln. This great old guitar was the last holdover from that period of my life.
Growing up in western Kansas with shit for a musical environment--and the polar opposite of the parents who used to drag their bored adolescent douchebags into the Musictech/McNally Smith College open houses hoping their offspring would become famous musicians--was a lot more than an uphill battle. It would have required superhuman abilities and commitment. I was more like subhuman. I copped out and played pop music, including a fair number of original tunes, because I had no idea how to get from beginner to jazz player. There were no such animals in Dodge City, Kansas in 1963. When I left home in 1965, there were still no such animals in Dodge or western Kansas and I wouldn't meet any until a decade later.