I’ve always loved summer nights. Even though the sun goes down so late. I love the sounds that float into the air once the sunlight fades – the crickets, the tree frogs and all the other critters in the woods. I remember as a child riding in the back seat of my parents’ car as we made our way back from my grandparents’ house in Pickens County mountains. The windows were usually down, and with the cool mountain air brushing through my hair and those chirping sounds I fell asleep before we crossed the Greenville County line.
I also remember the sounds inside our home on summer nights. We rarely watched TV during the summer, since reruns were the only shows on and we didn’t get cable until I was in college. Even though my room was on the other end of the house from the den, I could always come out of my room and tell when the TV was off. The silence was different. Perhaps the lack of static electricity from the screen allowed the silence to become even stronger.
Also during these months, my dad played his guitar more frequently. .He has this beautiful Martin D21 acoustic – worth a pretty penny these days – and it has an incredible sound. I believe my mother’s father was the one who taught him how to play. His repertoire isn’t that broad, but I can hear his pick and strum style of “Wildwood Flower” or “Wabash Cannonball” anywhere. Hearing those songs made me feel more relaxed, perhaps even safe. I suppose those nights are what draws me to acoustic songs – the simplicity and the solitude.
Many times he continued playing after we went to bed, but never for much longer. I can still hear the click of the latches on the guitar case and the echoing of the strings inside as he place the case back in the closet, and I remember feeling disappointed, wishing he had played long enough for me to fall asleep.