Thursday, July 24, 2014

Today I Experienced Real Fear

October 8, 2013


The Hitmaker - the one guitar I can't live without - The song I'm playing with it's called Savoir Faire

Today started out as one of the best days of my life... and this year has been filled with a lot of those best days. But this one was extra special because I was one step closer to getting another guitar exactly like my prized 1959 Fender Stratocaster, nicknamed The Hitmaker, because it's played on so many hit records.

At 8:00am Paul Waller, master guitar-maker from Fender Guitars, arrived at my New York apartment to plan the last steps in the long journey to replicating my guitar. He was meticulous. After measuring every part of the instrument he said, "I've never seen a guitar like this before. It's so not to specs that, a guitar like this would never get past the inspectors Today." He promised me the next version would be exactly like my one-of-a kind.

After two hours of continuous inspection he left and I headed to a Grammy Board meeting. After the meeting I caught the 1:08pm Metro North train at Grand Central Terminal that stops in Westport, Connecticut, where I have my studio.

During the trip, I got a call from a friend who told me about her cancer trials and triumphs. I was so immersed in our conversation I almost missed my stop. I ran off the train and caught a taxi to my house. As I pulled up to my driveway I realized I'd left my guitar on the train. I was instantly overcome with Fear because I knew I'd never see my guitar again. I felt like a parent who'd lost a child. I was terrified.

This is the one guitar I can't live without. It's never let me down. It's played on so many records, at so many concerts, and even comforted me after the death of my CHIC band co-founder Bernard Edwards, who's dead body I discovered right across the hall from my hotel room. The loss of my guitar gave me that same type of Fear. Paralyzing Fear. Devastating Fear.

For a moment I couldn't think straight. I jumped into my car and decided to try and catch up to the train which by now was miles away. I drove all the way to New Haven, which is the end of the line. I told the ticket agent who was on duty my dilemma. He could sense I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. He was sympathetic. He didn't know me from Adam. He was just a good soul. His name is Bob.

For the next 2 1/2 hours Bob investigated every possible scenario and we we're getting nowhere. While Bob continued to exhaust all his resources I tried to enlist the help of a number of police officers who worked for Amtrak... but they don't seem to have anything to do with Metro North, so this was futile.

I suddenly noticed a lone police officer who wasn't wearing an Amtrak uniform. I pointed him out to Bob. We ran after him and got his attention. His name was Captain McKenna. He was a good soul too! He started making phone calls. Everybody that he reached would say, "Is this about the guitar?" By now Bob and I had called everyone in the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

As my problem seemed it was about to end tragically Captain KcKenna decided to try one last thing before he had to go pick up his 7 year-old daughter. We jumped into his police car and we drove over to the train yard. The shift was changing and one of the guys said, "Hey let's check in here."

There it was... in its soft case lying next to a skateboard. One nano-second later there was jubilation, joy, and extreme gratitude in my heart.

Life's journey is not a straight line. My day started out heavenly, turned into complete devastation, then into complete celebration.

I went home and reflected.

Since cancer attacked me at the end of 2010 I've done a lot of reflecting. Sure, I've been frightened during this journey, but I've always remained hopeful - it's my nature. There's a life lesson in this. For a moment Today I had lost all hope, and when I loose hope I get afraid.

Today I Experienced Real Fear.

(Thanks to everybody today, from Bob to Captain McKenna - to the countless police officers and the caring MTA train workers who brought The Hitmaker back to the train yard.)

 


At 8:00am Paul Waller, master guitar-maker from Fender Guitars, arrived at my New York apartment


Paul was meticulous


Paul photographed every part of my guitar


I tried not to distract him as he checked my guitar


After measuring every part of the instrument he said, "I've never seen a guitar like this before.


He promised me the next version would be exactly like my one-of-a kind


After the meeting I caught the 1:08pm Metro North train at Grand Central Terminal that stops in Westport, Connecticut


The Hitmaker is the one guitar I can't live without


Bob from MTA is a good soul, for he investigated every possible scenario to help me find my lost guitar


When I looked at this empty train I was about to loose all hope


We jumped into Capt McKenna's police car and drove to the train yard


There was The Hitmaker in its soft case lying next to a skateboard


I went home and reflected. While sitting on my porch I noticed I'd never seen the lagoon this color. Today ended beautifully though almost tragically