There’s a homeless man who plays the saxophone on the corner at a street light near my house, and whenever I see him out there playing, I roll down my windows to listen, and if I’ve got a dollar, I give it to him. I don’t always give handouts to the people begging on the corner, but he’s essentially working for tips. He’s giving me something of value in exchange for my money. He has a really nice tone, and it’s a little bright moment for me many days. In the summer, he had his daughter, who looked to be about 6 or 7 years old, hanging out with him while he busked, and his sign says his wife is pregnant. I’ve actually seen them all waiting for the bus several times on a nearby street, and she does, indeed, look very pregnant.
Anyway, I’ve got several of my dad’s Jamey Aebersold play-along jazz cd’s. It’s got all the backup piano, drums, and bass for each tune, and you can practice playing the melody and improvising on top of that backup. I remember hearing them pretty much daily coming from downstairs while my dad practiced. For the rest of my life, I’ll remember the voice counting off each tune before they start to play. I had grabbed them for myself when we were cleaning out Dad’s studio, thinking they might come in handy, but none of them are in keys that I sing in, so they’re pretty much useless to me.
I haven’t seen the sax player on the corner because I’ve been leaving the house at different hours, and then we had several days of rain, and I realized I was missing seeing him. When I left the house today, he was at his corner again, and I pulled over and hopped out of the car and ran over to him. I asked if he had access to a cd player or laptop and he said he did, so I drove back to the house and grabbed the play-along cd’s and gave them to him. I complimented his nice clean tone and asked where he’d learned to play. His name is Brad and he had been a music major at a nearby college. I didn’t ask what had caused him to be in the situation he’s in, I just handed him the cd’s and explained what they were. Now that I know he can read music, I’m going to give him the charts that go with the cd’s. We chatted for a couple minutes, and he seems like a really nice guy. As I left, he started playing Amazing Grace.
Random act of kindness for the day? Check! Or really, since he makes me smile whenever I hear him, I’m going to call this a random act of gratitude.