It was a cold, hard, steady rain, the kind that makes you want to go back indoors and sit by the fireplace with a brandy snifter, except I don’t have a fireplace, I don’t like brandy and I don’t know what a snifter is.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t go back inside – I had to be on the West Side of Manhattan for a meeting – so I was boarding the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square at rush hour.  The car was so crowded that I knew the woman on my left had garlic in her lunch and the man on my right kept a whiskey bottle in his desk.


To my left, a man began playing an acoustic guitar and singing what I immediately recognized as the Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain.”  The strumming was gentle and melodic, the singing was plaintive and soulful.  I craned my neck to get a look at him, but could only see the top of his head.  He was African-American, but I couldn’t even guess at his age.


I knew I’d reach my destination before the song ended and that disappointed me.  I wanted to hear what else he had in his repertoire. I wanted to know more about his life.  I knew I wouldn’t.


I wished Linda Seccaspina was there with me.  She loves to engage strangers.  She would have sat down with him and asked him questions.  Was he young and trying to start a music career? Was he just trying to make a few bucks to live on?  Or was he older, trying to maintain an even keel despite failures?


Linda would have turned it into a magical post, reminding us of our common humanity and finding the magical force of life in his story.  I was saddened that she wouldn’t have that opportunity and saddened that I didn’t have the time.


As the subway doors opened, I wanted to go over to him and toss a few bills his way but the crowd was pushing determinedly in the other direction.  I followed the mob and headed back out into the rain toward my destination.


The man continued singing.


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Comment by Christine Geery on September 30, 2012 at 2:57pm

Crank, you are the man. Linda is one of my heroes and I love her

Comment by Kimberly on September 30, 2012 at 2:29pm

At Mass one Sunday they had the same discussion about all of us parishners.  They said, "It is sad we do not take the time to get to know each other at all."  we go and return home.  Our lives are so budy we don't have the time to take a moment to chat with people even at mass we have seen many times.  And yet most would claim lonliness.  I wonder what Jesus would say about this issue?

Comment by Sandra Ruffo on May 19, 2012 at 7:01am

We all seem to be in such a hurry to go no where! You did have an appointment, but my curiosity would have gotten the better of me. It seems it peaked your interest ALSO. 

Comment by Jason Giecek on December 8, 2011 at 9:28pm

Great post for a very special lady my friend!! Liked isn't the words for what I could say about this!!!



Comment by Linda Seccaspina on December 8, 2011 at 8:53pm

LOL Kenny you know me well

Comment by Kenneth Sibbett on December 8, 2011 at 8:44pm

You nailed this one Cuss. She would probably still be there singing with him!

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on December 8, 2011 at 2:36pm

he is a very kind man an d made my day

Comment by Linda Seccaspina on December 8, 2011 at 11:25am

Yes as my good friends Susie dont tweet..:)

Matt: this was so sweet.. Not a good day for me but this brightened it.

Comment by Susie Lindau on December 8, 2011 at 11:18am

You did end up writing a beautiful post Cranky! Just saw this on Twitter Linda!

Comment by Matt Paust on December 8, 2011 at 11:15am

Dammit, now I'm crying too!  I knew I shouldn't have read this so early.  Beautiful tribute, Crank. 


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