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  • “Brother! You’re younger than I thought!”

    He reaches through the passenger window of his Volvo wagon, comes back with the guitar. I hand him four twenties and I tell him not to make change. We shake hands and he calls me brother again. “Right on, man,” I’m thinking.

    It’s an acoustic, made by Silvertone in the 60’s, with steel strings my father calls “murderous,” and “That guitar will hold you back,” which says more about my father than about the instrument. It’s true that all the components are sticky, worn, or scratched. He’s an engineer, and he appraises the character of things differently. The white laminate accents are chipping away; the action is too high.

    But the Silvertone logo is beautiful, affixed in bold cursive script above the tuning pegs. The odd-numbered frets are marked with white diamonds. And it came from a brother.
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