When I was a kid, my older brother was big into CB radios--building them, talking on them, fixing them. Sometimes I would even jump on his radio and chat with truckers. My opening line was always the same: "Breaker 1-9 for a radio check, this is SuperChick." I knew my bro was talented at tinkering with every electronic device under the sun, but I couldn't have predicted who would appreciate his skills.
One random weeknight, there was a ring at our door. My mother notoriously would have us ignore a rung doorbell on any given day. Thank goodness we answered on this night. When I opened the door, an older gentleman was standing on our stoop, holding a CB radio. He said, "Hi, I'm Les. Is Chip here?"
Apparently this man had caught wind of Chip's ability to fix CB radios and had brought his own radio over to have Chip noodle with it. But just who was this mysterious Les? It was none other than LES PAUL, famed musician, one half of the band Les Paul and Mary Ford, and a true pioneer of the modern electric guitar.
My dad was an avid guitar player and owned a Les Paul guitar for as long as I can remember. He was star struck as he led Les through our tiny split-level home to my brother's lair, where Chip greeted Les with total nonchalance and fixed his radio in what seemed like 60 seconds. Meanwhile my dad fetched his Les Paul guitar and waited in the living room like a kid on Christmas Eve to catch Les before he left. I remember spying from the dying room as Les sat on our stiff floral sofa, took my dad's guitar, and gloriously jammed on it.
We used to say that my dad's eyes would become "slits" when he was really happy, because he would smile so big that he'd squint. I'm not sure Dad could even see Les playing through his slits that night! But he had the wherewithal to have Les sign his guitar--with the penmanship of a frazzled doctor--smack dab on the body.
My father is no longer with us, nor is Les Paul, but that signed guitar will remain a family treasure for us always.
The Les Paul Foundation: https://www.lespaulfoundation.org/mission-vision/
Gibson Les Paul Guitar Collection: https://www.gibson.com/Guitars/Les-Paul