Dick Summer Connection

This is a story from a proud podcast person by the name of Bob. It’s REALLY worth reading:

Hello my friend, Things have calmed down a bit and I wanted to say Happy New Year to you and yours, and in the words of John Lennon, let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.I wanted to tell a story that happened to me recently and affirmed my faith in humanity at whatever social strata they occupy.
I work in the city, which in Massachusetts means Boston. New Yorkers tend to say CITY, which always means Manhattan but I am proud and comforted by using lower case letters for Boston. I have spent time in Manhattan and feel like I am Jonah in the whale at times. Boston is more like swimming with the dolphins. Anyhow, my walk every morning is from the Park Street Station down Tremont Street to my office building on the corner of Tremont and Beacon. (I could say I go the the Boston Sports Club at One Beacon every morning to impress you with my workout ethic but truthfully I get there maybe 3 times a week and try not to look too silly as I glide on on elliptical machine listening to jazz or classic rock.) And lest you think I am some high falutin’ banker or lawyer… I work at Suffolk University, IT Guru by day and Professor by night.
Every morning for the past 10 months or so, as I walk by the Granary Burial Grounds, I see a man who appears to be homeless. He has an empty coffee cup discretely at his feet but does not solicit for money. Instead, he smiles at everyone who passes him and wishes them a good morning. I do make eye contact with him and smile. Most people go into “homeless person mode” and look away or right through him. After 40 something years of walking the city I understand that. (I once had a guy ask me for my spare change and I reached into my pocket and gave him the contents. There was 78 cent which included three pennies, which are enough for an opera but this guy tossed them back at me exclaiming that he did not take pennies. I was at first taken aback, and then wanted to get his definition of “spare change”, but realized that I should just chalk it up to experience and move on.)
Anyhow, I was telling you my story of this kind, gentle man who starts the day of hundreds of people with a smile and a wish for a good day. Many days that was the high point for met! I wanted to support him somehow, but his cup was on the ground and I know that I would probably fall over if I tried to bend that low. But I always appreciated the smile and the nod that I got from him each morning. So I hatched a plan. I am a musician that plays and gets paid. That is another story but I have been doing that since I was 13. The band recently played at a club in Cambridge. I always consider the money I make for playing music a gift, or at the very least pay for moving the many heavy pieces of stuff that are necessary for the sound. The music is my therapy, and I am lucky enough to have reached a stage in my life where I really don’t need the money so I just spend it on whimsical things or more musical equipment. I thought I would take my night’s pay and give it to this man for Christmas. I tucked it inside my wallet and looked for him the following Monday morning. He was not there. Each morning I looked for him and… not there. I had seen this phenomenon before. Street people come and go. And I thought he had gone, I was disappointed that I had not seen him. I thought all we ever exchanged were smiles and pleasantries and I wanted to give him this gift and chat him up a bit. I thought I had blown it. Until last Monday night. I was walking to the T and I saw him. He was back. I stopped about 20 feet away to discretely get my wallet out, (which is usually a no-no on a busy downtown street), and fished out he bills that I had set aside. I walked up to him and smiled and said hello. I got the most beautiful smile in return, I told him how a appreciate seeing him every morning and how he got my day off to a good start. We spoke for a while and I found out that his name was George but “not Curious George, curiosity has gotten me into lots of trouble”. He also told me that he had a rough life and was addicted to crack and that about ten years ago he had a talk with himself and decided to “stop being an asshole and to start living right” It was a lengthy conversation. The man is a born storyteller. I thanked him for being such a gracious man and having such a powerful spirit,
I have had several chats with him since. I stop in the morning if he is at his spot and spend 5 minutes with George, (and 5 minutes less at that cursed gym!). About a week after our first meeting we met and he was beaming. He showed me his new coat, pants and shoes that he bought to stay warm. He said something to the effect that this was far better than crack and would keep him warm over the winter while out on the streets. That made me very happy.
So I have a new friend who is street smart, intelligent, kind, compassionate and funny. People who pass George on the street and ignore him are missing out.
One of the things I have learned as a Louie, is that every person you come in contact has a story or two. All you have to do is listen.
Thanks for your stories and I hope the year ahead is good to you and yours.

2 Responses to “Dick Summer Connection”

  1. Betsy says:

    Thanks for sharing Bob and Dick. Just yesterday I read about a man who collects signs from homeless people –


    There’s a good TED talk too where he explains feeling homeless as a child due to his abusive father.

  2. Carole Mannion says:

    Bob – what a lovely story. You and George have both gained (he, materially as well as spiritually)!!