Sometimes you get gifts and you think, "Great. Another tie." You give that overly pleased smile and a hearty "Thanks!" The gift is forgotten almost as soon as you move onto the next present.
Sometimes you get a gift and are profoundly moved.
Today I received a rather large guitar-shaped box. I was very excited because I ordered a guitar from Operation Happy Note about 2 months ago, and I thought this was it.
I was wrong.
I knew something was strange when I saw the really cool hard case. It's actually a nicer case then the one I keep my Martin in back home. I opened it and was speechless. Inside is a beautiful Gibson/Epiphone acoustic guitar signed by none other than Steve Earle. For those of you who have never heard of Steve, you've certainly heard his music. He's played soundtracks for just about every movie worth watching (and some that perhaps weren't). He's probably better known for his anti-war views and outspoken political commentary. He's the guy who is willing to take on a different or unpopular view in order to challenge your way of thinking - sort of a Devil's Advocate on a larger stage.
In short, my kind of guy.
I certainly don't agree with all of his views, but we share the same spirit. I just learned we even shared an address, having both lived in Schertz, TX. In case you were wondering, Mr. Earle did not send this guitar.
I'd like to tell you the guy who DID send it. He's a writer and a journalist (not the same thing at all). He's a suburban Dad. He's a half-way decent poker player.
And he's my friend.
Brad, you may never know how much this means to me, but I hope to get the chance to tell you in person some day soon. And I promise, no matter how hard it will be to leave behind, it will continue to bring pleasure to deployed troubadours until the last one comes home.