After ten hours on the road we reach the gravel road that leads to our summer sanctuary. Nestled in a hollow surrounded by the Smoky Mountains, our cabin is bordered on the north by a bold creek and on the south by a national forest.
Izzy’s golden head, now gray around her eyes and nose, is sticking out the back window, ears flapping away in the wind, nostrils twitching wildly at the familiar scents of native fern, yellow pine, hemlock, mountain laurel and rhododendron, sleeping rabbits, squirrels, and moles. When the car stops she’ll jump down to the driveway and head for the stream for a drink of fresh water. Then she’ll start chasing smells.
We arrived safely, but our trip did not pass without incident. Somewhere north of Atlanta—on a road in the middle of nowhere we’d never tried before but decided to take because Google Maps promised it would get us
there an hour earlier than usual—Fred heard a loud rattling noise coming from the the car roof, and said, “Oh, oh. Something’s wrong with the pod.” The “pod” is a podlike plastic container attached to the top of my car that held our clothes and other things that wouldn’t fit into the back of my SUV. I glanced at my side view mirror and caught a glimpse of something black flying away behind us. What was it? I didn’t know. Maybe a shirt?
We pulled over to the side of the road when it felt safe and got out to check it out. Fred’s nephew had packed the car and pod for us the day before so we had no idea what was in there other than our clothes, all of which appeared to be there, although they were rumpled and clumped together. While he straightened out the clothes and re-locked the lid—we couldn’t imagine how it could have come loose—I walked back beside the road for a few hundred yards looking for something black. But I saw nothing but shredded tire treads. Finally I gave up. After all, it was only a shirt, right? No big deal, right? Wrong.
About thirty miles later, the lid popped open again, despite Fred having locked it as securely as he could. He locked it again, then searched for a truck stop where we hoped to buy some duct tape. The lock was obviously broken, so taping the lid to the bottom was the only way we could be sure it wouldn’t happen again. Luckily we found some and counted ourselves lucky. Sure enough, we had no further trouble. No big deal, right?
By the time we arrived at the cabin, Fred had talked to his cousin who asked her son what else he had packed in the pod. My guitar. In a black case. Surely it was underneath the clothes, right? Too tired to unpack the pod in the dark that night, we waited until morning. When we opened it Saturday morning, there was no guitar under the clothes.
I miss my guitar. It wasn’t an expensive one, but it had a story. Fred bought it from one of his best friends in college for $40.00. It’s the guitar he used to play when we sat around with friends in the sixties and sang, “The Seine,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “The Sloop John B,” “This World is Your World,” “Stewball Was a Racehorse,” “Cruel War,” and “Circle Game.” It’s the guitar Fred gave to me after I gave him a much better Martin guitar for his birthday many years later. It’s the guitar I’ve been learning how to play. I loved that guitar.
I hope whoever found it, found it intact. The chances are pretty slim, especially since it was in a soft-cover case. But miracles do happen. Just the other day I read about a man who walked away from his car that landed upside-down after an accident. Anyway, I hope whoever found it always wanted a guitar. Or their son or daughter always wanted a guitar. I hope they love it and play their favorite songs and harmonize with dear friends.
The good news is we didn’t have an accident. Nothing irreplaceable was lost. No one was hurt. And after all, we’re in the Smoky Mountains where people know guitars! There are music stores and pawn shops all over the place
where we can find a perfectly acceptable replacement that will be good enough for someone who just wants to sit out on the porch and watch the sunset over the mountains while practicing the guitar. Today I’m just feeling lucky to be alive.
Enjoy these pictures we took yesterday.
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Her Wilbur Award-winning book, Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new Nautilus Award-winning book, The Soul’s Twins, is available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.