The Mini-Moon Story
Words: Vincent Abbate
Sometimes it’s the little things that count the most.
When Doug MacLeod came to Cologne in October to perform at our book launch event, he stayed over at the apartment I share with my wife and two kids. For one night, we cleared away the Hot Wheels and Lego and turned my son’s room back into the guest room it used to be. And while it wasn’t the Ritz Carlton, Doug appeared happy enough with the accommodations. Maybe it was the four-foot-high Spiderman poster towering over his bed.
Now, Doug is also a serious baseball fan. Specifically, a St. Louis Cardinals fan. My two children happen to play little league baseball for a club called the Cologne Cardinals. So I thought it would be nice to surprise him with a piece of Cologne Cardinals merchandise during his visit. My kids were in on the secret.
Doug was flying out to Zurich the morning after our book launch, but hung around long enough to sit down to breakfast with me and the kids. My five-year-old son, Ben, was antsy, tugging at my sleeve the whole time. When are we going to give him his present, daddy? When are we gonna give it to him?
When Doug had finished off his corn flakes and coffee, I popped into the next room with Ben and my ten-year-old daughter Mia. We came back out with our gift for Doug: a Cologne Cardinals t-shirt in bright red. Cardinal red. Our guest was touched.
“The Cologne Cardinals,” he read aloud. “Is that your baseball team?” He was looking at my son.
“Mine, too!” declared Mia, quick to point out that she also plays baseball.
“Well,” smiled Doug in his gentle way. “I am going to go put this in my suitcase. And when I get back home, I’m going to show it to my wife and to my son.”
Doug disappeared for a moment, while we remained in the kitchen, happy that the t-shirt had been a hit. When he returned, he was holding a flat, slender box. It was maybe a foot long and two inches high. He turned to my children.
“I only brought along one of these on this trip. And I didn’t know where it was gonna end up. But now I know. I want the two of you to have this.”
By now, I knew what it was. My kids had no idea. So Doug carefully opened the box for them and took out the autographed miniature replica of his National M-1 guitar. The one he calls Moon. (The real Moon was sitting in the room across the hallway, stowed safely inside its hardshell case.) He set up the little guitar stand that comes with it and made sure Mini Moon was secured inside the bottom yoke and neck cradle.
“That’s Doug’s guitar,” I explained. I must have been smiling ear to ear. “Oh, and it’s not a toy!”
“It’s a collectors’ item, right?”
That was my daughter. She’s old enough to understand the difference. When I later informed her that Doug had been selling the limited edition replica guitars through his online store, and that they’re sold out, she was even more impressed.
But my son, too, understood that Doug’s gift of Mini Moon was something extraordinary. It was both a spontaneous expression of gratitude and something that would help us forever remember the time he came to stay.
A few days later, before our next book launch event, Ben got to play the real thing.