If you knew my daddy... you loved him. I don't know that I ever met someone that didn't care for him. Of course I'm partial, but he was a friendly person. He was always present... he listened, he talked... my goodness did he talk. But generally, when he said something... it was generally worth hearing.
It's sad to me that there are people in my life that will never know him. They will never know his wisdom, his fun personality, his guitar pickin', or his creativity. They will never hear his prayers... they were long, but they were sincere.
So today I mark another year without him... while thinking of what to post I decided it would be best for you to hear from him. So here is the story of Dane's mandolin. I've walked past this frame a million times in our home, but I don't know that I truly read it until a few weeks ago. This story (a true one of course) shows daddy's character and his voice, and I hope you learn a little bit about him... in his own words.
The original owner of this old mandolin is unknown. My knowledhe of its history began soetime in the latter 1920's or early 1930's. As a young boy living in Covington COunty, MS Dane Webster was about 10 years old. Wanting to play music, Dane picked cotton to make $5.00 to buy this mandolin. He walked several miles to buy it from a man that had told him when he got the money he would sell it.
Dane began his pursuit of music with this little instrument. Later on in years he met my Dad, Claude Cole. They had a mutual interest in music so they began to play together. Some of my earliest memories as a child is of me listening to them play old gospel songs on this old mandolin. My Dad learned how to play mandolin on this old Strad - O - Lin.
I guess it was inevitable that I would follow suit with an interest in music. When I was about 6 or 8 years old my dad had borrowed this mandolin to practice with. I got it out of the closet and tried my hand at playing and "tuning" it as well. When Dad took it out to play it the box ws pulled apart. My "tuning" had ruined the old mandolin. It stayed that way for years. Sometimes I would take it out and guilt would overwhelm me. I was determined to correct my mistake.
Some of the first money I ever made was spend on having Mr. John Stuart put it back together again. When it was fixed I carried it back to Dane and presented it to him. He was thrilled to be back with an old friend from his past.
Dane became very sick in the years before his death. When Dad and I would go visit him, sometimes he would hardly know us. The last thing I remember about Dane was his giving the old mandolin back to me.
I display it with pride in how it was obtained by a little boy with music in his heart, with thankfulness for the understanding shown me when my love for music and desire to learn caused me to destroy its ability to make that music, with satisfaction that I made it right by having it repaired, and with the knowledge that even if we may not be the best instrument God has, even if we've needed repair in the past, and though we now may carry the scars of our past life. Our value to some may be more than we know.
Lessons in life may come from anywhere. Even old mandolins.
For the past eight years... I've tried to look for those lessons (the ones that come from anywhere) and learn from them as Daddy always inspired me to do.