John Rich has a guitar hanging on the wall of his home in Nashville. It was a Christmas gift from his father 35 years ago.
Rich told me the story of what he considers his best Christmas ever and explained why getting a guitar as a kid was so meaningful for him.
“When I was 7 years old, my dad gave me his guitar,” Rich told me during his recent visit to Chicago.
But this was not just any guitar.
“This was the one he’d been playing since he was a kid,” Rich recalled. “And up until then, I’d just been playing a little plastic nylon string guitar. I played it all the time, and I’d gotten pretty good on it.
“Then my dad gave me the one I’d been watching him play for years. It was an Electro-Harmonix — they only made it for a few years — and I still have it hanging on the wall in my house in Nashville.
“That was such a huge gesture from my dad. He couldn’t afford to buy me a new one, but he said, ’Son, I think you’re gonna do something with that. So I want you to have a real guitar to play.'”
Rich’s oldest son Cash will be 7 in about a month. Maybe they can keep the Christmas guitar tradition alive and well.