Friday, July 19, 2024
Photo: Mike Murchison
On the Road with Mike Murchison

Everybody’s got a story

Whether I believed him or didn’t matter. What did was he was experiencing two things I knew very well. Music, and being far from home; and for those reasons alone, I approached him.

He was sitting down on the cement with his back up against the wall. In more ways than one, I might add.

Bundled in one of those old green winter army coats that were once in style back in the 70s.  Worn out work boots and a black hoodie that had seen its better days.

He was stumming away this old guitar which was nameless; the face of it had autographs. Whose, I don’t know. I didn’t recognize any of them.

“How long you been playin’ ?”

I asked him as I bent down to be at eye level with him

“Learnin’. Three months…”

I smiled and mentioned that it sounded pretty good. He was bouncing back and forth from the G chord to the C back to the G. Which is often the chords beginners will pick to get the fingers in shape.

“May I?” I asked holding out my hand.

He handed me the guitar and I broke into the only song that seemed to matter in that particular time and space.

“I pulled into Nazareth, feeling ’bout half past dead….”

The iconic opening line from the song “The Weight” by The Band.

It does something to the soul, when just by such a simple action like breaking into a song transforms the face and the eyes of a weary traveler into an expression of joy and happiness, and maybe just a moment of rest from the weariness.

I finished a couple of verses and a chorus. His eyes were sparkling. He handed me a black magic marker.

“Anyone who plays this thing signs it,” he said.

I’ve never done that before So in a little black area just under the pick guard, I signed my name. 

 I bought him a fresh coffee. Threw $5 bucks into that guitar case and gave him two of my CDs. Maybe he might catch another ride with another trucker who was heading East. Maybe they’ll pass the miles listening to one of my tunes on the cd player. Who knows?

But I know this: When you’re having a terrible rotten week. When it seems you can’t do anything right; when it’s all up hill and against the wind; it’s then, if you keep your eyes out for it, that God will send you a messenger in some form. 

No, they may not have wings and they may not glow with a “heavenly” light. But they are a messenger, nonetheless. The message is simple:

“Peace On Earth. Good Will to All.”