The connection between my electric guitar and one of my favorite fruits

Music has always been in my house. I suppose it was inevitable that I would play guitar, and probably the only reason I didn't start until I was eleven or so was that Dad's classical was impossible to play, and his Supro Belmont electric only slightly less so. It took that long to be willing to put my fingers through it! But I wanted "into the club", and guitar was going to be my ticket, so I endured the seemingly six-inch high string action on the Belmont and tried to play barre chords.

By the time I was fourteen, I was craving a Fender Stratocaster electric guitar...

Most certainly an AnceStory of unintended consequences and lifelong implications.

My parents, sister and I just returned from the trip of a lifetime, the "Last Great Nuclear Family Vacation" - a 16-day odyssey to the homelands of our ancestors in Ireland and Scotland. While my parents had always had some interest in visiting "someday", two factors conspired to bring it into startling real-time relief....

"Paddy," I asked of my companion, "what do you think of when you look out there across the sea?" I had met this gentle soul a little farther back down the road towards Donegal town on the way to the spectacular cliffs at Slieve League. Soaring nearly 2,000 feet in elevation from the water's edge, breathtaking is a bit insufficient description....

Long ago in what feels like a galaxy far far away, I went to grad school at UMass to be an Environmental Engineer. My first year I lived in Northampton in an apartment, and right at the beginning of the semester this woman answered our call for a roommate. Alyssa Sheehan had just returned from living abroad in China and Japan, but she was from nearby Springfield.

I can honestly say I've never met anyone like Alyssa before or since...

Where to begin on this just completed, epic nuclear family odyssey to Ireland and Scotland? It was partly my discoveries in our family history that got my dad excited to go. He had expressed a desire to bring a little soil from his grandfather's gravesite in Forestville CT to return to the "Auld Sod". When I learned the grave location of Andrew McKnight and Sarah Milliken (his grandfather's parents) in West Calder, Scotland just a few weeks ago, the mission was set....

May 25, 2017. Reflecting on a year's anniversary, with love to cousin Lee and a toast to Aunt Margaret

I am flying into the sunrise, soon to land in Dublin. Sometime during this crossing of the Atlantic we have crossed midnight and into tomorrow. It strikes me here at nearly 40,000 feet above this blue ball, that this morning marks exactly a year since a significant milestone - one that more or less led to this trip with my parents and sister.

My cousin Lee and I met in person for the first time last April near Nashville....

Along with tons of other plants over the decades, Grandma gave a rose bush to my parents some 40 years ago. A few years back, my sister rescued its scraggly and dying self where it was shaded by a now full-grown tree in my parents yard. She transplanted it in her yard at home in Maine, where it had an unfortunate run-in with a roto-tiller....

For those with absolutely no interest in coaxing green things out of dark dirt and wonder "why do they do it?" as well as those with green thumbs or obsessive orchid disorder.

May 1st is always a bit of a personal pivot point for me. I'm often on the road for large chunks of March and April, and my absence usually results in weeds choking my gardens. They impose their chaotic unruliness over my carefully tended beds like an army of Orcs pillaging the good green Shire. Adding to that, deer come and graze on the new shoots of the bulbs I've stuck in the ground. I often walk around with my morning coffee looking for small signs of hope in the carnage, emulating the Michael Jackson look with a single glove for tugging at a strand of ground ivy here and bedstraw there. The proverbial equivalent of peeing in the ocean, but to clear a few square inches of precious garden space from the marauders somehow does my psyche good in spite of the magnitude of the discontinuity....

So today is #DNADay. We live in amazing times. In the 1950s Watson and Crick first described the crazy macro molecule that carries everything about living species wrapped up in a double helix. A few years ago a massive effort finished mapping out the entire human genome...

I've always loved lilacs. We used to have a large lilac bush at our old place on Snickersville Turnpike. I've been known to clip a couple when I've been on the road and stick them in a water bottle to freshen up the van during a spring tour, even once or twice without permission (see "The Great Lincoln Lilac Larceny")....

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Tour Dates

  • 07/09/2017
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun - Leesburg, VA
     
  • 07/12/2017
    Globe Theater at Montgomery College - Germantown, MD
     
  • 07/23/2017
    Unitarian Universalists of Gettysburg - Gettysburg, PA
     
  • 07/29/2017
    Cape Charles Central Park - Cape Charles, VA
     
  • 08/23/2017
    Epicure Cafe - Fairfax, VA
     

HAPPENINGS

SPECIAL THANKS

Andrew is a grateful Endorsing Artist for Elixir Strings and Fairbuilt Guitars, and a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Artist Roster. He also is a member of The Standing "O" Project and Concerts in Your Home.

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