The real Christian

We were walking down Lee Street when she saw us. It was hot and we had been to get iced coffee. She must have noticed my hand in his when she approached us with a broad smile on her face.

“Excuse me. I’d like to apologize to you and your wife,” she said as an introduction, even though we aren’t married.

She continued, “But do you happen to have any change? The Lord hates it when I don’t take care of myself. I just want you to know I pay my tithe. I’m a real Christian.”

I reached for my wallet, even though I knew I’d spent my last dollar on the coffee I was still sipping on.

“Sorry, I don’t,” I said after looking into a coin pocket.

And that was when the real, tithe-paying Christian told us off.

Talking to strangers

In the evenings lately, I’ve taken to practicing guitar on the front stoop of my apartment. It’s a nice change from the inside of my place, where I typically play.

I use “play” loosely. I’m learning. If I have a guitar in my hands you can usually hear rough versions of OCMS’s Wagon Wheel (Not Darius Rucker‘s version. Sorry, I still love me some Hootie, though). Josh Ritter’s Idaho or the opening notes from Falling Slowly (from the award winning movie and Broadway musical Once).

The other day in the middle of my umpteenth “Rock me, mama,” and G chord, a man in a beat-up brown Oldsmobile stopped his car in the middle of the street and parked in front of my apartment.  He got out with his two little boys (there was a baby still in the car, one of the boys told me). He wore an old wifebeater and shorts.

“Hey, can you show me how to play your guitar?” he said. He must have sensed my hesitancy. “I promise I’m not gonna run off with it.”

Sure, that’s what I would say if I were about to steal someone’s guitar. I suspended whatever fear I had of talking to strangers/getting robbed, raped or murdered. And showed him a G chord and how to hold the thing.  He was actually quite nice, despite the whole leaving a-baby-in-the-car thing.

“You know that song, ‘Hey there Delilah?'” he said. (How could I not?) “I really wanna learn to play that. I figure if I ever get a girl, I could sing her that song.”


The view from my stoop