Grandpa’s Mandolin

As we move through our day to day lives, we at times experience something that reminds us of the past. Taking a few minutes to remember grandpa and his mandolin was worth far more than the time spent putting one of his stories down on paper.

Grandpa was a wonderful husband that picked wild flowers for grandma often. He was a great father taking all 6 of his kids to stay at a motel for the weekend so they could swim. More than anything he was passionate about what he did especially music. He didn’t just make the sounds of music he made the instruments like mandolins and guitars. He even managed to sell a few in his early days. He really did it for the pure pleasure than the monetary gain he could have received. They had beautiful tone and he took special care hand crafting each piece. He made special tools to make the tasks easier like a hook to hang the instrument so there would be no marks in the finish. He used things around the house that could be recycled such as for his scratch plate he used old record albums sanded smooth. For the pearl inlay he would use the inside of shells that the kids had found on the beach or grandmas buttons. The end result was a genuine masterpiece.

Grandpa couldn’t read a note of music but you would have never known it by the way he played. He would not only play what he heard he would also make parts up as he played along with other songs.

After he retired he and grandma would hook their little camper up to the cutlass and travel the country meeting new people while going to bluegrass festivals. They spent their days listening to the booked bands on stage, the evenings visiting friends and eating potluck and sitting around a fire through the night for the best part, the jam session.

Grandpa has been gone for over a decade now, but his memories live on and are always good for a smile.


Drawing by: Kim Hardin