Forty-five years, and the only thing Scott Burke learned to play on the guitar was a four-chord riff from “Smoke on the Water.”
But he learned a few other things along the way. More important thing. And he wrote the lesson, not necessarily meaning.
Forty-five years ago, Burke from Indiana was on a bomb-dropping mission for the First Ammunition Conservation Squadron of the First Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia.
His roommate was a man named John Elsing from Wisconsin. The two, about 19 years old, spent most of their downtime doing what two young men in the Midwest expected. They drank beer and listened to music.
Among their Air Force companions was a talented guitar player named Gary.
Gary had a young wife and a new baby, and money was tight. One night he realized he was desperately in need of a toddler-sized diaper, and recent traffic tickets didn’t make households any easier. He felt Scott was in good control, so he picked up his guitar and walked to the barracks on demand. Can he borrow $ 100 until the payday?
Gary provided his beloved Maplewood guitar as collateral for the loan. Scott mandated.
But time has moved away from them. A few months later, Scott was reassigned to the Netherlands, Gary to Alaska, and John to Wisconsin. Three of them lost contact.
Scott became a construction engineer and moved to Bakersfield in 1989 to get a new job. Ten years ago, he met Linda Bowden, an ER nurse traveling from Bakersfield. They got married 5 years ago.
Scott, Linda and Maplewood guitars Scott has been with me ever since Langley. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University, the Netherlands, and carried it to Bakersfield, and everywhere in between. He played guitar and epiphone from time to time, but most of the time he heard other friends play it from time to time.
Scott, now 63, retired a few years ago, motivated by a mild heart attack.
The calculations that accompany such events can do something to a person, and many of them are good.
One is to remember where the loose end is still.
He thought of his old friend John, who returned to Wisconsin. Encouraged by Linda, Scott chased him.
The man used to talk on the phone about Langley, the bombing, and finally the talented guitar player they were dating. Gary — Gary Blow Cow. Scott forgot his surname.
He really should return it.
John remembered a bit about Gary — just enough to keep Linda doing something. She tracked him to the St. Louis area, where he played in a classical rock band. After a relentless series of calls, she hit the jackpot. Gary and his band were scheduled to perform the following week, June 19, at a place called the Italian Grill in Salvatore, St. Charles, Missouri. birthday.
Scott told her when she booked the flight.
They told John their plans and he wanted to get in. If Scott and Linda were flying from California, John said he and his high school lover’s wife Mary would drive from Wisconsin.
On the first leg of the flight from Bakersfield to Phoenix, American Airlines flight attendants tried to prevent bulky guitars from being brought into the cramped cabins of the plane, but after Linda explained their mission, the attendants I took my luggage out of my storage compartment and fixed it there with a guitar. A similar thing happened on the second leg from Phoenix to St. Louis. This time, the American Airlines pilot listened to Linda and ordered the guitar to be placed in the cockpit for storage.
After John and Mary arrived from Wisconsin — reunited in their own right — they all headed for Salvatore. Four of them were intended to just scout the place for the time being. They have a place where the manager can hide the guitar until just the right time, and if Gary had the power of an amazing recall, they have a good vantage point but not be recognized by the audience. I talked about where to sit I couldn’t reduce it in 45 years.
But the next day, a massive thunderstorm struck St. Charles, losing electricity in half of the city. After many starts and stops (turning on and off again), the show was cancelled.
However, Linda and Scott were too far away to deter, so they went to the club in search of Gary. They were told that his son-in-law and bandmate Doug were somewhere outside the club. They found him in front and approached the guitar case. They started to explain.
Doug told them that your man was right there, pointing at his father-in-law, and he was looking at them from a distance. Gary walked cautiously, feeling something strange happening.
“The person with the guitar was talking to my son-in-law,” Gary said. “I thought I could get a better idea of what was happening.”
Scott realized this was it.
He placed the guitar case on the ground at Gary’s feet, unlatched it and slowly opened it. Gary’s eyes widened. “Where did you get it?” He asked incredibly. Scott picked up the guitar and handed it to him. “From you,” he said, “in 1976.”
“I was shocked, I was just shocked,” Gary said. “I just wrote down the guitar. I thought it was exactly what happened. People go in and out of your life and you just move on.”
But now he insisted on repayment of the debt. “Let me get your hundred dollars,” he told his old new friend. Scott said he didn’t want the money, but Gary didn’t hear it and went to the ATM. However, the power was still off and Gary, who was locked out of his account, had to return empty-handed. Good, Scott declared: it should be.
Instead, Gary arranged a supper in a dark and empty restaurant. The table was illuminated only by the soft ambient lighting of the cell phone.
Eventually power regained and his band was too late to play for a paid audience, but Gary had some on his long-lost guitar for his long-lost friends. Announced that he wants to play the song. It became a full-fledged concert for nearly three hours. Linda’s mother, Jacquie Sullivan, a former Bakersfield city council member, was listening to her on her laptop from home and requested some Bob Seger songs, which the band mandated.
Gary’s parents bought Epiphone as a high school graduation gift. That’s half a week’s payment for my dad, which is $ 300, or about $ 1,400 in today’s dollars.
A few years later, when Gary’s mother asked him what happened to the guitar and he told her he had to sell it, she cried. Thanks to Scott, he now had the opportunity to play it again for his widowed mother at the age of 93. He did it. And she cried again.
Linda posted everything on Facebook. The story is “about good people, tenacity, friendship, and sometimes brotherhood that only veterans can understand,” she writes. It’s about the simple reward of “doing something for someone else, not knowing what it will be, and expecting nothing in return.”
They will return to St. Charles in October. Their flight has already been booked.
“I especially learned to be a nurse,” Linda said. “Tomorrow isn’t promised. I can’t wait to do what I want to do and what I have to do. I can’t sit down and say” I’ll do it later. ” “
“My wife,” Scott said. “I didn’t mean to let this go. And I’m glad she didn’t. I’m glad she didn’t.”
Retired chef Gary says the three Air Force associates will meet again sooner. “Whenever the band does something special, they are invited to come out,” he said.
His band is called Common Ground. “I don’t know why,” Gary said. “That’s the name we gave it.”
But with a memorable guitar takeover last month, the name rang with unexpected credibility.
ROBERT PRICE: Underplayed guitar was instrumental in their long-overdue reunion | Robert Price Source link ROBERT PRICE: Underplayed guitar was instrumental in their long-overdue reunion | Robert Price