Sunday, September 5, 2021

Fiddler in a Parking Lot

 “There is a guy playing a violin in the Fred Meyer parking lot. You should come join him.” My friend’s text made me smile because she knows me pretty well.

“Hey,” I yelled to my kids in the other room, “you wanna go on an adventure?” If cancer has taught me anything, it’s to enjoy the good days.

Only one of my kids sounded remotely interested because…well, teenagers. 

So, we grabbed my fiddle, hopped into Sky’s car, and eventually found a woman who stood by a violin case in the Fred Meyer parking lot.

“You want to jam?” I asked with so much excitement.

“No English,” she said. “Italian.”

I was MADE for moments like this! I’ve been taking Italian lessons, so I told her I speak a little Italian. 

But unfortunately I couldn’t understand much of what she said. So, I pulled out my phone and used Google Translate. 

We conversed that way, typing questions and answers into the translator on our phones—and it was actually kind of fun! Then, things got serious….

She said they’d fallen on hard times—so now, they were standing in this parking lot, asking for help as her husband fiddled for tips. And to think, this brave woman couldn’t even speak English.

I guess right before we got there, her husband had left to see a mechanic because their car broke down. She had health problems on top of everything. And, they didn’t have enough money for rent.

I typed back, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I understand that life is hard. I have stage 4 cancer, and I actually came to see you to get my mind off of things…by helping someone else.”

I’m still not sure why, but as she read the Italian translation, she broke out crying and asked if she could hug me. So we stood there, both of us hugging and crying in the parking lot. My daughter, Sky, just looked at us and smiled.

After that, I asked the woman if I could play a song for her. As the notes crescendoed, the winds seemed to shift and the weather didn’t have the same bite to it. 

I hoped—with everything in me—that this change symbolized a better future for this sweet woman and her family. 

I packed up my violin, and although Sky and I didn’t have much to give, we left the woman with what we had.

“Buona fortuna,” I said (good luck).

“Grazie.” She smiled, and we left her there, standing with her sign, still asking for help.

I hope the winds of change will find her…maybe they’ll find both of us.

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