Play Misty for me…..

As I rushed out of my car like a madwoman the other afternoon, making a run into the supermarket,  I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard the haunting yet delicate sounds of violin music playing in the distance.

Usually, at this time of year, volunteers for the Salvation Army can be found endlessly ringing their bells outside of stores while they stand next to a donation kettle.  What I heard was light years away from the monotone melody of a solitary brass musical object.  This music was…magical.

Walking in the direction of the beautiful serenade, there stood a straggly-looking man, with a pleasant smile, sharing his concert-quality impromptu concertos.  On the ground in front of him was the case for his violin into which people dropped money as they walked by and he seemed so grateful, asking if anyone had a special request.  I was amazed that the local  branch of the Keystone Cops hadn’t come by to make the man move for panhandling or some other crime against humanity but, in speaking with other shoppers, most mentioned that he had been performing, jacket less, in the cold, outside for hours.


It got the best of me; I reached for a few dollars and walked towards him,  as he was playing “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies”,  I dropped the cash into his violin case and he smiled asking if I had any requests.  I did and, without hesitation, he launched into such a magnificent version of “Somewhere In My Memory” that it brought tears to my eyes.

Who was he?  Why was someone so musically talented out on a sidewalk performing for a few dollars?  Would the profits of his day be enough to buy him, or his family, a decent meal or perhaps some Christmas presents?  Was he out of a job, homeless?  Or…was he a fraud; an educated person, gainfully employed just using his talent to rack up some extra cash on the week-end or possibly even get his Stradivarius re-strung?
You know something?  I really don’t care!  His music was charming, a gift and a breath of fresh air breaking through the stagnant cloud of holiday stress being put out by shoppers like myself. 

I hope he comes back to play another concert soon; next time, I’ll ask him to play “Misty” for me..