Little boys want nothing more than to be just like their daddies, and my nephew, Ryan Hadlock was no exception. When Ryan was about two years old, he loved to watch his daddy, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock play the guitar. To Ryan, playing the guitar was the epitome of his daddy. Ryan almost saw them as one and the same. As we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Ryan wanted nothing more than to imitate his daddy when he was playing the guitar. The only problem was that Ryan didn’t have a guitar, and his daddy’s guitar was too big for him. Enter the imagination of a little boy.
Ryan began to improvise. If it resembled a guitar in Ryan’s mind, he used it like a guitar. Some of his favorite “guitars” were things like a fly swatter, broom, sticks, and even cardboard. And if nothing was readily available, Ryan would simply play the air guitar. Ryan knew all the moves too. As he played, he would twist himself in all different ways, like a rock star does. Never mind if his sisters though he was just a little bit unhinged! Ryan didn’t care, because they couldn’t possibly understand anyway. It was a guy thing…and something he got to share with his daddy, just them…no girls allowed. You see, being the only boy in a family of four children, meant that Ryan was outnumbered by girls. He needed something that was just for the guys, and it didn’t hurt that he and his daddy loved to play the guitar. Of course, there were also a few other Ryan/Daddy moments too, like horsing around, knuckle rubs, or wrestling matches…the normal daddy/son things. Still, these never really held a candle to playing the guitar, just like his daddy, as far as Ryan was concerned. He has simply loved it all his life.
When Ryan was about 16 or 17, his parents bought him and electric guitar. He was in Seventh Heaven to have a real guitar of his own. It was like a right of passage. He was now a man…just like his dad was. He was entrusted with a wonderful instrument that was one that a responsible person got to have, and he absolutely treasured it. Recently, his dad gave him a 12 string guitar, and Ryan loves playing that one too. I don’t suppose that he still does all the rock star moves, but then I could be wrong about that. Some things you outgrow, and others you don’t. It doesn’t really matter anyway, because most of us who know him, and especially his family, can still vividly see that sweet little two year old boy playing the flyswatter, the broom, cardboard…or even just the air. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!