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Both of my grandfathers passed away when I was very young. In my adult life, my de facto grandfather was actually (my wife’s) grandfather, David Mills.

“Pap”, as we called him, passed away last week at the age of 91. Thankfully, his mind, body, and spirit were in good health till the very end of his life — when it was quite literally, his time to go.

Pap was a robust man, and one of the remaining few of the greatest generation. As child of the great depression, Pap eventually had the duty of being a battlefield tank repairman in the European theater of WWII — most notably The Battle of the Bulge.

When I would ask him about the war, he would always focus on happy points of being in Europe. From his perspective:

“You couldn’t do much better than being an American G.I. in France at the end of World War II. The people loved us, and the girls did too!”

In many ways, Pap was the original minimalist.  He worked with his hands, and literally wouldn’t purchase anything that he could build himself — which was everything.  Pap sold us his house a couple of years ago — and being surrounded by his handy-work — I’m reminded of his artistry every day.

My favorite is a red snow shovel that he built.  Pap added a piece of a material (he found in a bowling alley dumpster) to the base of the shovel.  I believe it’s the same material that hangs behind the pins.  Anyway, this thing glides on concrete better than any shovel I’ve ever used!

Almost like a hippie artist, Pap loved other people’s “throw away” materials.  Aluminum, wood, whatever — he would use it to create something new for his house, or for someone else.  Not to mention, his work is incredible!

This was Pap’s calling, his talent, and his artistry. Creation is what made him truly happy.

Although Pap had means, he had no use for material possessions whatsoever. His wife Mary passed away about 4 years ago, but they lived a simple life, taking joy in each other’s company.  Pap required very little, and he did his best to contain his feelings about people who did require material objects.

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I have only come to understand this about myself within the past few years. In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I concealed my feelings of inadequacy with different obsessions like exercise and cars.

Looking back on it now, that is when the realization emerged that my rock band wasn’t going to be commercially successful, despite 10 years of disciplined rehearsing, touring, and hard work.  My band was very successful in Pittsburgh, and my entire identity had been the bass player in New Invisible Joy.

Like anybody else would do, I immersed myself in unimportant things, to avoid coming to terms with the fact that I was a 33 year old guy with nothing to show from the past 10 years, and no skills other than playing guitar — or so I thought.

At one point, to make myself artificially happy, I bought a used Audi A4 that proceeded to breakdown once a month. In case you’ve never owned an Audi, every repair is a $1000 dollars — literally!  That stupid car nearly sunk Jennifer and I financially.

The very moment my brainchild, Intellimusica, went live with my very first post — I felt a palpable sense of oneness. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do in this lifetime.  My unimportant obsessions dissolved immediately, and now, all I require for happiness is my guitar, and my laptop.

My theory is, like Pap, humans are natural artists.  To be happy, we must invent. Create upon creations, and invent upon inventions.  In that respect, our reality should be one of constant progress and refinement.

I had the idea for my blog as far back as 2006.  I firmly believe my unhappiness was the cognitive dissonance from not pursuing my dream.  Knowing this, you must act upon the idea that has grabbed a hold of you!  I waited nearly five years before I acted.  How long will you wait?

In a final act of generosity and creation, Pap was in the position to write his own eulogy shortly before he passed. Entitled ‘My Requiem’, it was a beautiful eulogy and indicative of a man who had lived a perfect life.

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(Note: Walk in the Trees is my premium content)

How to Play ‘Walk in the Trees’ by Rob Simonsen from The Spectacular Now

Having co-worked on 500 days of Summer and Moneyball, Rob Simonsen is quickly becoming an A list composer at the relatively young age of 35. You can check out more of his work here.

This was an opportunity to use my Cordoba Dolce. Although my GK Studio is the workhorse for this blog, sometimes I need to switch guitars for a certain feel or vibe.

In the case of Walk in the Trees (the theme from The Spectacular Now) the chord progression didn’t feel right with my GK Studio. Rather than change what I was doing, I switched guitars and everything seem to work out.

Enjoy, the tab is available below:

Walk in the Trees is easy to play, and tuned a 1/2 step down. There are no difficult chords to speak of, but like much of the material on this blog, you’ll have to think of your hands as light and fast. 

Walk in the Trees (Tab)

Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.