Margaret turned three during the summer of 2003. We bought her a little drum kit.
What do you think that 3-year-olds want?
They want to make a bunch of noise and bang on things. Drums are the perfect gift. Plus Bill begged to have at least one of his kids play the drums. Who am I to deny my adorable husband a lifelong dream?
So for weeks she banged joyously on her drums that sat in the middle of the living room floor.
Sean already was playing the saxophone and Bill had been playing the bass guitar for years.
I was left out.
I decided I was going to buy myself an acoustic guitar, take lessons and learn how to play Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" so I could sign along.
And I did.
I got a beautiful Epiphone acoustic-electric guitar — cherry sunburst finish, oh so pretty. And I started taking guitar lessons from Guy Stephens (formerly of JT and the Big Dogs).
I practiced my scales and chords. The first song I learned was the Beatles "I've just seen a face" — sans the fancy intro.
I told Guy I wanted to learn "Big Yellow Taxi." He told me it wasn't a beginner song as it had the dreaded barre chords. I didn't care, I wanted to sing along to some Joni Mitchell, so I learned barre chords.
It was the first time in my life that my giant man hands were useful. Barre chords weren't that hard once I got the hang of them.
Next I learned Neil Young's "Heart of Gold."
I was having a really good time practicing my few songs and singing along. I played all the time and everyone in the house had to listen.
By November I had made some decent progress mostly because I had a teacher that made the lessons fun and I practiced all. the. time. I played everyday and played for everyone whether they wanted to listen or not.
Then Margaret got the flu ... the bad flu. Of course, I got it, too. The two of us draped ourselves over the couches languishing from the fever, cough, chills and other flu horrors trying to watch movies and not die.
Bill brought me the phone and said it was Laurena.
I had met Laurena when I started working at The Daily Sentinel in 2002. She had since left the paper but we remained friends.
I croaked my hello into the phone. These were her exact words (OK maybe not exactly exact, but pretty darn close): "I want to start an all-girl band and I want you to play guitar. I'm going to learn to play an instrument."
I said OK but I had to not die of the flu and then I was all in.
I didn't die of the flu and shortly after New Years 2004 we got together to talk about our "band."