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  • Writer's pictureBec

Stop and Smell the Music

On my journey, as I work to not hurry and worry, making sure to listen to music along the way is as important as smelling the flowers. For those that know me, you know how much I love flowers which gives you an idea how important music, Todd's music, has been along the way.

You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

Walter Hagen

About six months into our marriage, Todd brought home a brand new Martin guitar. We certainly didn't have enough money in the budget for this purchase but looking back, I would have eaten rice and beans for years if that's what it took to make it happen. Todd didn't even know how to play the guitar when he bought it but quickly taught himself how to play and he played it beautifully!

As mentioned in previous posts, Todd was what he called a "journal junkie." He has some journals dedicated to songs he has written and some journals where the

songs are hidden among and in between regular journal entries. Early on, we would often "smell the music" along the way as he worked to fit words and notes together for just the right mix.

As time went on, music, both what he wrote and music he played written by others, became a part of our every day journey together.

Since our early camping consisted of backcountry camping (yep, everything needed for days, on our backs, even filtering our water out of creeks) Todd carried a backpacker guitar so the music would continue deep into the woods. As our camping style changed, he kept the backpacker guitar and would bring along the Martin to ensure the campfire included some tunes.

Todd and his little brother Roddy would play music in our basement of our first apartment as they started a band called the Green Genes back in the 90s. Every family gathering involved music as guitars gathered around a piano in the living room for Beatles sing a longs. A Christmas tradition at our house was Todd surrounded by nieces, nephews, and some non-musically inclined adults with a bucket of tambourines, triangles, and any other instrument we could find as Todd led us in Christmas songs.

One of the best Christmas morning memories ever was when our girls, ages 5 and 7, pointed out that there was one more present hidden behind the tree. Todd began crying as he reached for the Larrivée guitar case, a total surprise! To this day, if you ask the girls, they will retell this story with enthusiasm and emotion.

Weekend nights on the back porch, of all houses we have lived in, were filled with Todd playing all kinds of tunes. These nights also included some of us non-musically inclined folks singing along, much louder than some of our neighbors may have appreciated.

I can't remember a Sunday morning before Todd's cancer that didn't involve the sounds of his guitar filling the air.

About a week after Todd passed, Caroline asked me to send her some video of Todd playing his guitar. I was amazed at how little video we had. We have pictures, a few small video clips, and my only explanation for this is that we truly were in the moment when he played. We weren't thinking of saving video for the future, we were truly in the moment enjoying his gift to us, at that point in our journey. Recently, after coming home after driving, Maggie said she was singing in the car and started singing louder and louder because she wanted to make sure her "Pa" could hear her.

I could go on and on about how Todd's love of music filled our lives. The purpose of this post is for those reading to be reminded of the need to not hurry on your journey as you take time to appreciate the flowers, and music, around you in this moment.

This past May, I found several recordings of his I had never heard before. I play those songs often, especially as I drive on those country roads he loved.

Here is a song for you, as you drive on the roads you love, so you can experience Todd's love of music on your journey.

Pisgah Pike by Todd Puckett

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