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Granddaughters’ delight strums the heartstrings


I can’t think of a moment of greater bliss than sitting at the cash register of Island Guitars last Monday with a granddaughter on each cheek, giving me kisses, hugs and assurances that I’m the greatest granddad in the history of the universe.

All it cost me was $700 for a couple of Baby Taylor six-strings that the girls think are named after their musical hero Taylor Swift.

I’ve been taking Sloane, 7, and Nakaylee, 6, to Ward Warehouse every Monday after school since I started them on ukulele lessons at Island Guitars in the fall.

I gave much consideration to what special gift I could give them to remember me by and could think of nothing more precious than the gift of making music.

I promised they’d get to the guitar and rock ’n’ roll if they showed me they were learning the ukulele seriously, figuring it would be a couple of years before their little hands grew into the bigger instrument.

But between their enthusiasm and the skilled encouragement of their teacher Ilisa Peralta, a fellow former Hiloan, they were ready to graduate in only a few months and I was delighted to reward their diligence.

The Monday outings have turned out to be about more than just music, giving me the gift of getting to really know these great girls.

In some ways they’re opposites who compete over everything and agree on little. When they were once running me ragged, I told them I should call them Monster One and Monster Two. They immediately asked in unison, “Who’s No. 1?”

Kaylee wants Menchie’s Yogurt for the afternoon snack, and Sloane wants Dairy Queen. Sloane wants Korean barbecue for dinner, and Kaylee wants Chinese. Kaylee likes ponytails and Sloane likes pigtails.

Musically, Kaylee attacks her chords and sings her lungs out. Sloane is more adept at the subtleties of fingering but prefers to strum and sing more softly.

In the end, though, they’re more alike than different — endlessly inquisitive little girls with boundless energy and zest for life. Somehow they work out the disagreements and make our Mondays together always an adventure to look forward to.

It leaves me in the hope that years down the road when I’m no longer around, they’ll be strumming their guitars somewhere — whether it be on a stage or a back porch — and thinking a fond thought of their old Zeyde who loved them very much.

Some of my politically obsessed friends will give me grief for not writing about the Legislature in the session’s final week, but once in a while you have to take a moment to remember there are more important things to pay attention to.

David Shapiro can be reached at or
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