The Musician’s Guitar

Written By: Tom Gabrielsen

The Musician and the Carpenter are two of the most interesting people I have ever known. They met on the East End, an area where the most unique people live and vacation. They are alike in some ways but different in others. One lives in the West, and vacations on the East End. The other lives on the East End but vacations in the North. One spent years in college, while the other went to work after graduating from high school. They excelled in many areas other than their occupations. The Musician is a superb golf player, while the Carpenter an excellent bow hunter. They both enjoy life in many various ways.
The Musician was an Ivory League graduate who majored in music. He built his business into one of the most successful in his field. He plays the piano and guitar, creating outstanding music. When playing his instruments, he relaxes and enjoys his exquisite home overlooking the Peconic Bay. He spends time in his organic garden and loves to fish, cooking all the food that is harvested. This is the same soil and sea that existed in 1636 when settlers came to the rich fertile land of the Twin Forks, which is surrounded by water and filled with an abundance of fish.
The Carpenter graduated from vocational school where he studied carpentry. At the early age of twenty-two he excelled and became a successful builder. At sixty-two years of age, he is now one of the most experienced builders in the East End. He is akin to a talented music conductor. He takes his subcontractors and, in harmony, creates a masterpiece of which Marin Alsop would be proud. As a famous American conductor, the entirety of her performance is always superb and she often brings down the house (no pun intended) with a jubilant finale. Similarly, the Carpenter directs all the work being done, from the first nail that is driven until the final stroke of the paint brush.
With the assistance of his many subcontractors, they create works of art that extend across both forks of the East End. These are artists in their own degree, with art equal to some of the paintings that can be seen in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. They create paths to light the way to any part of the house. If you wake up in the middle of the night and want to get a snack in the kitchen, the touch of a smart phone will light the way without requiring you to turn on a switch. The simple formula A2 + B2 = C2 is often used to square corners in kitchens and baths. They calculate a groin vault ceiling using trigonometry, using R = H/2 + W2/8 x H as a formula, which provides them with the radius of a circle, which they use only a portion of according to the height needed for the arches. A 1-16 pitch is determined for roof angles while live and dead loads are calculated. Three hundred feet below, geothermal wells are drilled into the surface of the earth using a closed loop system, bringing fifty-five degree water that is then passed into a heat pump and other sophisticated equipment. All of this is powered by solar energy, creating a fossil-free home.
The Carpenter was proud of the renovations being performed at the Musician’s home, including a new forty-foot kitchen and adjoining dining room. There were many items left in the
house during the renovation, including a guitar case with its instrument still inside. The project had started after Labor Day, but the new season, and Memorial Day, was quickly approaching, and he needed to complete the project. The Carpenter and his crew were working at the house, and only a few touch ups remained. As the workers left, the Carpenter would always stay behind to lock up. As usual, on the way out, he would stare at the guitar case in the family den. He wondered how this guitar would sound if someone played it, but he could only imagine the result.
The next day, they worked late and completed the renovations. Again, on his way out, he looked at the guitar case before locking up. This time, it seemed to be beckoning him to open it. He stood before it, tempted to open the case. When tempted, we are enticed or allured to do something unwise. In his mind, he rationalized that the Musician, undoubtedly, would not mind; no, he would not care just this one time. He looked around to make sure no one was watching, and then he checked for cameras that may have been placed inconspicuously. Then, slowly, he opened the case.
The Musician’s guitar was beautiful and magnificent−like nothing he had seen before. Carefully, he held the instrument and looked at it in awe. He sat down and started to play but was astonished at what happened next. The music came from the heart of the instrument and spread throughout the house; it raced up the plumb walls to the groin-vaulted ceiling, where it danced across the four arches, spiraling into the dome and then proceeding to the pitched roof and down again to where the Carpenter was sitting. If algebra, geometry, and trigonometry could sing and dance, they were singing and dancing now. This was music that seemed to come from the heavens.
For a moment he imagined being in Carnegie Hall while everyone clapped to an epic performance. Some among the full crowd of 2,804 people, on all five levels, shouted, “Bravo, bravo…” The crowd rose to their feet and continued to clap.
Ever so carefully, he put the guitar back into its case and never opened it again. No, nobody had heard him … or so he thought. He stepped out to what should have been Seventh Avenue and West 57th Street in Manhattan but realized he was on a deck looking out over the Peconic Bay, which separates the Twin Forks. The Carpenter whispered to himself, “How silly of me to think that I was playing before a crowd.” He thought of how many of us fantasize, at one time or another, about being able to sing or play like a professional artist.
The light filtered through the trees as he stood on the deck and looked out over the bay, admiring the beauty of the East End. He walked to the water’s edge and sat down. It was quiet except for the small waves clapping softly as they reached the shore. The water stretched out and disappeared into the setting sun. The sky turned red, and he knew that the beautiful weather would continue. He stood up and threw a flat white stone. It skipped five times along the water’s surface before sinking to the bottom. While walking along the shoreline, he noticed the shells that had washed up, mixed with the seaweed that lay there. It was peaceful, and he was happy that the renovation was completed.
The hot summer days turned into the cool nights of early fall. The Carpenter received an invitation about a contractor dinner provided by the Musician and his lovely wife. The Carpenter, his crew, and the subcontractors were all invited. These were the workers who built this masterpiece and they all admired the finished home.
The caretaker took fresh vegetables from the organic garden, including tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and melons. Everyone was served wine from the local vineyards and an abundance of food. The Musician and his wife cooked a delicious meal. He barbecued on the grill, utilizing his superb cooking skills. Everyone ate, talked, and had a great time.
Near the end of the evening, the Carpenter noticed the guitar case sitting in the living room next to an end table. It was the one he played four months ago, in late May. He acted like he knew nothing about the guitar and asked the Musician about it. The Musician replied, “This magnificent masterpiece was handcrafted in the Netherlands by a craftsman who has worked on Paul Simon’s and other musicians’ guitars.” The Carpenter asked the Musician if he would play them a song.
The Musician looked past the twenty-foot Finestra sliding doors folded into the wall and stared out onto the bay, deep in thought. The water was calm that night and the moon was reflecting upon it. You could see little ripples of water dancing ever so slightly, making it glitter. Everyone was quiet, listening to what he would say. They hoped to hear him play a song on his beautiful guitar. The Carpenter gazed at the guitar case like he’d done many times in the past. The Musician leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs simultaneous, gazing at the guitar case as well. Smiling, he looked at the Carpenter and said, “Why don’t you play a song for us…I know you play this guitar very well!”