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I recently was called away to a state that is full of history, both contemporary and ancient on the east coast. About 5 1/2 hour drive along with another 2 hour drive in the am after driving all night, my destination was Virginia.
Virginia has many places that are downright "otherworldly". Still some beautiful farmlands and hills ripple across the landscape. That coupled with its more "woodsy forest" areas makes it seem enchanted.
During this time, my daughter took me to this eclectic, artsy community by University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We had so much fun wandering around this entertwining brick walkway layout amongst some pretty fantastic shops! I was totally unprepared for this gemstone of treasures! Street musicians and street vendors pave the lil shops ranging from gallery artwork to wild and funky memorabilia to antique dealers. My daughter and I passed quite a few street musicians when one in particular caught my attention.
He was a young man perhaps in his twenties and although his cases were open showing two very old, but well kept violins, he wasn't playing. just sitting in the doorway with his angelic long blonde hair and scrufty grunge style clothing. He looked up, but he didn't jump up to play in anticipation of a monetary reward.
I asked him, "Do you play pretty good fiddle?"
He shrugged and with a shy smile, he said, "I'm alright."
I gestured to the cases and said, "I am going out to dinner now. When I come back pass this way, I want you to play for me. Alright?"
The lad gestured and nodded and we continued on to dinner.
We noticed how many homeless people there were along the walkway. It literally seemed there was one or two every twenty feet along. This area is probably a pretty safe area to panhandle as many people are walking back and forth through this more affluent college catering area, but just the idea that we aren't getting smaller. The homeless population is getting larger.
After having some Miso soup and a chicken kabob appetizer, we decided it was time to go and started back through the stone streets. I insisted on keeping my word and finding the young man that owed me a tune. We came once again upon the fiddler sitting next to his doorway having a coke in an outdoor cafe. He noticed me at the same time I noticed him. I pointed to his cases.
"Its time for fiddlin', I said to him as he started to stand up.
He asked me what I wanted to hear and I told him whatever he felt like playing. It was a sad and melancholy tune he chose to play that reminded me of a sea of emotions that spoke of his life. Then the magic moment ended. He stopped. I clapped and handed him a small sum hardly worth mentioning compared to the moment shared. He pushed my hand away and I insisted pushing it into his dirty hand. He smiled and thanked me. My daughter and I headed to her car. It was a magical moment.
As we were walking along I told my daughter, "sometimes its the smallest of things that bring the biggest rewards. Did you see him smile?"
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