So I go into a Starbucks before a business meeting. I have 30 minutes to spare. I think a cup of coffee would be fine. Now I’m not a big Starbucks fan but it was freezing outside and being able to sit in a warm coffee shop was irresistible.
Inside I ordered my cup of black coffee and sat down at a long table. I thought to myself I’ll look through my phone and warm my bones at the same time.
Sitting, sipping and scrolling I noticed that there was music coming through the overhead speakers. And it was music that had clear lyrics and brassy horns. I found myself tapping my feet and thinking back to when I first heard the tune. It had to be at least 50 years ago. Guess that makes it a classic.
I then heard someone next to me ask another person, “Who is that singing?” The person being asked said, “I’m not sure. I think it’s Tony Bennett.”
I glanced over, curious to see who this person with the young voice was who actually knew Tony Bennett. The Tony fan turned out to be an Asian man. He was asked the singer’s identity by another young Asian man and sitting between them was a middle aged African American woman who didn’t think the singer was Tony but she wasn’t sure who it could be.
As they discussed the identity back and forth I listened and then chimed in with, “It’s Bobby Darren.” The trio said, “Who?” and I repeated, “Bobby Darren. And the song he’s singing is called Mack the Knife.”
None of the three had ever heard of Bobby Darren, which didn’t surprise me, but they all liked the sound of his voice. (Poor Bobby. If only he was around to hear this.)
The woman then asked me if I could write down the name of the singer for the two Asian men. They were visiting New York from Hong Kong and they wanted to purchase the music and take it back west to the Far East.
I pulled a small notebook from my carry-everything bag and printed on a piece of composition book paper, “B-0-b-b-y D-a-r-r-e-n”
The lady, who was a friend of the two men, didn’t even look at the paper but she immediately said, “Could you print it large please?” As if she expected me to write the name down in small type.
I turned the paper over and printed, “B-O-B-B-Y D-A-R-R-E-N”. She took the paper and handed it to one of the men and everyone thanked me – a lot. Boy, they were really appreciative. I thought to myself that they must not be from New York. Not to say we New Yorkers aren’t courteous but we do have our limitations.
Glancing down on the table I noticed that the woman had in front of her three white sticks, around 12 inches apiece. Because they seemed to be so interested in the music playing I made an assumption and asked her, “Are you a drummer? Are those your drum sticks?”
The woman looked at me as well as the two men and the trio laughed. Suddenly looking at them in the eyes, and then glancing down at the white sticks on the table, I realized the obvious.
“Me? A drummer? No, those aren’t drum sticks. That’s my walking stick.” And she picked up the pile of sticks and with a couple of whips of her wrists unfolded them into a 4 foot long, white walking stick.
“I’m blind but my friends here can see a bit. That’s why we asked you to write down the name of the singer in large type.”
I paused and actually said, “Oh, I see.” Luckily they laughed.