Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harmonica Summer Project

I came up with a fascinating idea by pure chance; give away harmonicas all summer long.

It happened after I bought one of the above harmonicas at Cracker Barrell one day. (No, I'm NOT plugging the restaurant, it's just that they carry these.)

I had so much fun playing the thing, (and still do) that I thought of giving one to our neighbor's son, who is very shy and quiet. I thought it might bring him out of his shell a little. So I gave one to him and his brother via their Dad. (No idea how it's going with them as yet.)

The day after that, I ran across a homeless person in down town Chicago looking for money. Somehow, it made me think of an old high school friend in Madison, WI who is a street musician on State Street up there and plays for tips. I made the mental leap and decided to start giving harmonicas out to friends and the homeless. I think I've given out about twenty or so to date.

The look on people's faces when you give them a harmonica is pure delight, like a five year old at a really good Christmas. This is something they'll enjoy for a long time to come, and many times over. For the homeless, it also might help them earn better tips - actually earn some of it through playing music rather than just begging. One can hope. If it does even one person some good, it's totally worth it.

Anyway, I'm going to give away a few harmonicas all summer, and also to the Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids. It's relatively inexpensive as gifts go, only $5.00 apiece, but a long-lasting enjoyment.

Here's the poem that goes with this effort:

Harmonica Summer...

I’ll never forget that cracker barrel day,
A little breakfast of biscuits and gravy,
Marion blueberry pancakes and coffee,
Laughing with my Honey.

Passing the counter to pay the bill,
I saw a large pile and my thoughts quieted,
Red white and blue boxes full of silver,
Entitled Bluesband and made by Hohner.

An idea sprouted pretty as a dandelion,
I bought one up and walked out smiling,
Little boy big and blowing sweet tunes,
I’d found a harmonica come late June.

So much fun I had since that day,
I went back with money and ideas,
Bought up five more with a gleam in my eyes,
The gift of music was something I’d play.

I gave two to the neighbor boys next door,
After asking their daddy of course,
I gave one to a friend and to a bum,
Now begging is tuneful and entertaining for sure.

I gave the last to the gal down at the desk,
It turns out her nephew loves it quite dear,
Or the gal who sold them her little brother did play,
When he was little played himself off to sleep.

For the price of a nice dinner for two,
I can buy seven seven-year-old Christmas smiles,
The kind that go on in the heart forever,
Like Gabriel releasing the seven horns - but much nicer.

I’m going back every pay day,
Buying up gifts,
I’m looking forward to a city full of riffs,
By the end of Harmonica Summer.


By Daniel A. Stafford
© 06/30/2007

(2nd to last verse added 7/4/7)

Words are the mind's bridge - it's connection to all the universe.
Love is the heart's bridge - it's connection to all other souls.
Loving words can work miracles.

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