Pancho and Lefty

Last night I posted The other bucket list, and it got a lot of comments.  One of them (from JDAWSGWORDS) began like this…

“I thought of “lefty living in a cheap motel” for some reason…”

Is there a better way to begin a comment than with a line from Pancho and Lefty? I don’t think there could possibly be. It made me think so many thoughts that I lost sleep.

I remember the first time I heard Pancho and Lefty. I loved it right away. I’m not even going to try to explain why. Listen to the song, if you don’t already know. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard recorded a version that always gives me goosebumps. Townes Van Zandt recorded it first (and wrote it), and several others have covered it since. It’s one of those songs that I rarely think of until I’m reminded of it, and then it’s like I’m hearing it again for the first time. I’ll probably listen to it again before I finish this post, and it will give me the same feelings all over again.

At some point I thought, “this would be a good song to learn when I finally get around to learning to play guitar”. And then I realized I had left an important item off the bucket list: learn to play guitar. I’ve had a guitar since about 1982. My first was a beat up old nylon string Alvarez. I wish I still had it. I gave it to my brother when I got my new guitar (a Epiphone steel string acoustic) and in his innocence he attempted to put steel strings on it. It exploded. That would have been about 1999, or 2000. I never learned to play. I never put in the time. Occasionally I would cut off my fingernails and make some noise for a while, but it was never really playing.

Now Grumpy, on the other hand, could play the HELL out of a guitar. He DID put in the time. I think it’s accurate to say he was a master of blues guitar. Maybe the cruelest thing that has happened to him in his illness was losing that. One day he realized his hands could no longer do what he asked them to do, and he took the strings off his guitars for good. A very insignificant effect of that is that I no longer make noise on my guitar. It’s too sad for him. I took the strings off my guitar as well. When Grumpy is gone I will find myself in the strange position of being a very bad guitar player with some very good guitars. I think I’ll give it a try again. I might even take lessons this time.

As I was drifting off to sleep it occurred to be that Lefty would be an excellent name for a dog. I could have this conversation…

person: What’s his name?
me: Lefty
person: Why do you call him Lefty?
me: Pancho and Lefty
person: Where’s Pancho?
me: He died down in Mexico.

I don’t think I’d ever get tired of that.


3 thoughts on “Pancho and Lefty

  1. That would be a good name, for that reason. I doubt you would get tired of having a four-legged straight man to a great joke. Guitar lessons seem like a nice addition to the list. Good for you and a bit of a tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

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