And perhaps a man brought out his guitar to the front of his tent. And he sat on a box to play, and everyone in the camp moved slowly in toward him, drawn in toward him. Many men can chord a guitar, but perhaps this man was a picker. There you have something – the deep chords beating, beating, while the melody runs on the strings like little footsteps. Heavy hard fingers marching on the frets. The man played and the people moved slowly in on him until the circle was closed and tight and then he sang “Ten-Cent Cotton and Forty-Cent Meat.” And the circle sang softly with him. And he sang, “I’m leaving Old Texas,” that eerie song that was sung before the Spaniards came, only the words were Indian then.
And after a while the man with the guitar stood up and yawned. Good night, folks, he said.
And they murmured, Good night to you.
And each wished he could pick a guitar, because it is a gracious thing.
To play is to have learned to play. And to learn to play is to understand that life does not come ready made. One doesn’t necessarily need a music teacher, but one would be strongly advised to get a musical education.