Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Tattered Top Hat

A few months ago I was running late for work.  As I hurried along, I took for granted that I was crossing one of the largest rivers in the United States, the great Mississippi River, in just a few minutes.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and I was completely oblivious to it because I was late.  

Suddenly something caught my eye and wrenched me from my obliviousness. It was an older gentleman in tattered clothing.  He was sitting down with his legs out in front of him.  He had rips in his shirt and pants and he wore a vest that made him look like an old time peddler.  He was sitting in the shade of a building with red pealing paint.  But none of this was what initially caught my eye.  

I first looked at him because he was playing an accordion. 

The tune was up light and giddy.  I felt like there should be people having a hoedown right there in front of him.  But no one was.  They were all just walking by and going about their business; just as I was. 

Any way, it was his melody that made me stop and take in his appearance.  He had an old tattered top hat out in front of him.  I really felt like he had been transported from the 1920's to this old Mississippi bridge.  He looked tired....really tired.  His skin was brown from being in the sun and he had a long grey beard.  He had a sweet look about him.

That is when I noticed the other young man walking down the bridge.  Think typical college freshman.  He was had longer blond hair that was a little out of control.  He had in head phones, but he was looking at the old man just like I was. 

At first it looked like he was just going to walk by like everyone else was.   

But then he stopped.   

He turned around, pulled out his wallet, and walked over to the older gentleman.  He pulled out a $20 bill, put it in the man's tattered top hat, and then turned around and walked off.  Well, as if that was not enough to pull at my heart strings.  But then the old man stopped playing, leaned forward and pulled the bill out of his hat.  In a quiet voice said "Oh wow!  That made my whole day!"

Just seeing that act of kindness made my whole day so much better.  There is so much good and beauty in this world.  I think sometimes I forget to look for it.....or cause some of it my self.