We Are All Disabled - Part 3

Fierce bed bugs, Ted’s electric guitar and a band called Rabbit…

I was bitten by bed bugs in a cheap motel in LA a few weeks ago on my way to play for the National Association of Music Manufacturers.

The event was not open to the public but somehow 90,000 people show up to talk and listen and learn everything new in the music business. Rock stars, lots of them, wander around. And yeah, I was there too getting my picture taken, playing my guitar and having fun because somewhere it's written, I’m the only guy to have won the top three international guitar competitions.

I worked hard to be that guy and to be in the company of the some of the best musicians in the world. They are my heroes and being among them, felt good. I was proud of myself and that felt good too, until the applause faded and I began thinking about the people in my life who believed in me when I had such a hard time believing in myself.

Ted Robertson was the first person ever to hear something in my music. He had a band called Rabbit, a 1963 Les Paul electric guitar and he was different from everybody else.  He didn’t care about how old I was, how shy I was, or how well I could play. He was the kind of friend you keep forever.

Ted took his life in the middle of being my hero. His father was my teacher in school and eventually I mustered up the courage to ask if I could buy Ted’s guitar. Mr. Robertson said yes, his son would have wanted me to have it.

As I sat there on a stage in LA all these years later with my guitar and my musical heroes close by, I thought about how lucky I’ve been and I thought about Ted Robertson who heard something in me that I’ve spent a life time trying to hear in myself.

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Don Alder is a musician and partner in a grand adventure - "Man In Motion" that forever changed the way we see disability. He lives alone in a basement suite over run by guitars, note books full of ideas for songs and everywhere, memories of going around the world with his best friend, Rick Hansen.