At one point my Dad and I were going to learn to play the mouth organ. I’d purchased him a Lee Oskar harmonica and grabbed myself a cheap Fender blues harp.
My Fender Blues Deluxe harmonica has been all over the country. It lived in my backpack for about 2 years and went to Chicago, Missouri, Oregon and all over Washington. I had plans to learn to play it but never really got around to messing with it.
Every time I cleaned out my backpack I left it in there for those slow days when I might get bored. Unfortunately those slow days were spent on my phone and breaking out the mouth organ wasn’t exactly socially acceptable while waiting for class.
That damn harmonica traveled with me to all my classes and I kept nudging it aside as I dove into my backpack to pull out my laptop or other school related items.
The day I got the call about Dad’s terminal pancreatic cancer I began packing a suitcase and a backpack. You might be able to guess what traveled with me to Missouri.
Again, I had hopes that Dad and I would sit down and try to rock out on our harmonicas but cancer had other plans. So my harmonica staid in my backpack by Dad’s bedside. This twenty dollar harmonica was a silent witness to one of the hardest times of my life.
I flew back home after Dad passed and realized I’d forgotten to grab is Lee Oskar limited edition harmonica. It was packed away in storage and there it stays to this day.
My harmonica on the other hand lived in my backpack for another year or so. I was struggling with depression, anger, loss and had no motivation to learn or play any instruments. One day while cleaning out my backpack I finally pulled out the harmonica and put it in a box full of unorganized items.
I recently found it again and looked up a video on You Tube on how to actually play scales on the mouth organ. After 20 minutes of learning I was pleasantly surprised on how fascinating these pocket instruments can be.
So now my harmonica is getting played, I’m slowly building practice time into my daily schedule and can at least play Merry had a Little Lamb, Happy Birthday and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I’ve only spent about half an hour practicing but having prior knowledge of music theory has come in handy.
Every time I grab the harmonica I think about all of my travels and the things this harmonica has been part of. I think of Dad, college and many other events in my life that shaped me. I don’t know if I’ll stick with practicing but I’m trying to include harmonica playing into my daily life if for nothing else but for the memories it has.