Tom took one look at the weathered baritone that we had asked him to make "strum-worthy", and what followed was an appraisal that took us all the way back to the Happy Days era and beyond.
Not only that, the old timer we thought was going to be a real project - a spruce "beater" that would never attain anything better than back-up status - in the hands of an accomplished musician like Tom Hodge, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Over the Rainbow" never sounded sweeter. Something we never expected from what had been up to this point a retired family heirloom.
But beyond the history, beyond the nostalgia, what we later realized after Tom replaced the G string was that the remaining three had been strung by Len, my kids' grandfather, my best friend, before he died in 1982 - and no one had played the uke since.
Did we experience a little quantum mechanics today in that cluttered basement music room? Or just vibes fed by pure serendipity? Who knows, but one thing for sure, emanating now from this new touchstone, this old baritone, is a true sense of connection to family and happier times with each new chord.