Gotta minute? Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved the piano. Whenever she came across one at a friend or relative’s house, she’d sit at the keyboard for hours picking out her favourite songs, note by note.
More than anything, she wanted to learn how to play and begged her parents for piano lessons. “Sorry, dear, your hands are much too small,” they told her. “But we have an even better surprise for you, instead.”
Expecting a bike … or a pony … imagine the girl’s disappointment when a gruff man came to the door bearing her surprise — a shiny new … accordion.
Um, yes, that little girl was me. And I tell you this story because when I came upon a smiling rotund busker at the subway today, happily playing the accordion, I felt a little guilty.
For all those years ago, when I had the chance to learn how to play this strange squeezebox, I burst into tears instead and ran away from it screaming, “I hate it! It’s not a pianooooooo!”
So I approached this man — Leonid was his name — and listened to him play for a while (I think it was the theme from Dr. Zhivago). He was a burly fellow with red rosy cheeks, wearing wool pants with red suspenders and a flat wool cap.
When I put my money in his case, I noticed there was a stack of homemade CDs on the floor so I bent down to take a look.
He stopped playing immediately. “They are very good!” he exclaimed in an Eastern European accent. “Only $10!”
I didn’t have $10 on me, but I chatted with him for a minute, learned his name, and thanked him for the music. He continued playing and I was struck by how happy he looked, smiling from ear to ear.
Maybe I should’ve gone for the squeezebox after all….
P.S. This isn’t my busker, but he rocks! Enjoy!
“I Capuleti e I Montecchi” (Bellini) performed by Count Guido Deiro (1886 – 1950) who introduced the accordion to North America back in the day.