The past three week’s my roommate has been back home in Washington tending to some family business and I’ve been here. And extremely bored. I decided that I need to find something to do with my time other than watching TV or drinking beer, so I went out searching for a guitar. I have always wanted to learn to play and decided that now is as good a time as any.
Saturday, I was on a mission. There really isn’t jack-diddly in this town for retail outlets but I thought the pawn shop might be a the only shot I had of accomplishing my task. As I walk in to the store, I realize how wrong I was. This shop was more of a rummage, antique style shop with no rhyme or reason to the items arrangement. I went up to the counter and asked the elderly gentleman if they had any guitars and he said they only had one electric and one acoustic. They weren’t in very good shape. A young guy, my age, was sitting at the counter shooting the breeze with the old man and asked what kind of guitar I was looking for and I said, “Hell if I know.” He laughed and said he had an old Dean acoustic guitar that was in great shape and that he’d sell it to me for $50. SOLD!
After the elderly pawn shop owner suggested it was illegal for the kid to sell the guitar on his property, immediately followed with a, “But what I can’t see, I don’t care about” that the young kid and I arranged to meet back in 30 minutes. So, I either got a great deal on an acoustic guitar or got a great deal on getting assaulted. Luckily if was the former. When the guy was showing me the guitar he made me to promise that I would take good care of it because it had a lot of sentimental meaning to it.
The story goes that Dustin, the seller, hitch-hiked from Colorado to North Dakota a few years ago searching for work and came across another young hitch-hiker. After they got to shooting the breeze the second hitch-hiker told Dustin that he was trying to save up money to buy supplies to hike the Appalachian Trail. What a strange coincidence, if you believe in such things, that Dustin had already hiked the Appalachian Trail and had all of his supplies. Dustin wanted to give all of his supplies to this guy so that he could help him make his journey. Pay it forward. And the hitch-hiker offered up his guitar as a barter. Dustin learned how to play guitar on it and he’d had it since he arrived to ND.
I love this story. I empathize with it and the journey of those involved. I told Dustin my story about giving up on the life I thought I should be living and how I decided to head west in search of the life I truly wanted. This guitar is a symbol of that. It’s a symbol of comradery among a rare breed of individuals who go out in search of the answers to their questions and who decide to walk alone down the road less traveled. But the twist is, that we’re never truly alone because there is always some divine intervention along the way to aid us in our journeys. I’m grateful and feel blessed that my path has crossed with Dustin. I will never forget him or his story, and if I ever get rid of Lola I will be sure to pass the story along with the guitar.
I thought a fitting name for my new gal should be Lola. Honoring one of my favorite classic rock songs by The Kinks and also, I feel that the story of a hitch-hiking, drifter guitar player is all to often filled in by a man. Well, not this story. This is the story of a woman, in search of a life free of debt and dogma, who didn’t necessarily hitch hike across the country but at any moment along the road thought that the Bonanza might die, and she’d have to hitch-hike the rest of the way! Either way, it’s a story of new beginnings and the hope of unexpectedly stumbling onto the true meaning of life.