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Morning Coffee-“Me and Bobby Blow”

imagesIt had been a lousy day.

The business meeting had not gone well. I was feeling
frustrated and angry. I was with a business partner I had to extricate myself from. I wanted to go home and pull the covers over my head.
Lately, steps had been a challenge for me , but I had to catch a downtown train. I want to go home, I want to go home, kept whirling around in my head and then I heard a trumpet being played and someone singing. My body released all of its tension. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I see this guy sitting on a bench facing me as I was slipping my metro card through the turn style.
He seemed to be around 70 years old, white hair, thin, black sunglasses , black skin, obviously blind, and singing Nat King Cole’s song “When I Fall In Love”. Nat was the only one that did it for me singing that song. When I was a little girl, to me Nat King Cole was my fantasy dad, because he had such a beautiful, calming voice, and I always felt he was singing just for me.  He was pure beauty.
I stood there and listened to the man playing and singing and the next thing I knew, I began singing along with him. “It will be forever, or I’ll never fall in love again. And the moment that I feel that you feel that way too is when l fall in love with you.” By this time I was standing right in front of him and we ended the song together. He had such a surprised look on his face when he heard someone joining him in song. I reached out and touched his hand. He looked up at me as though he could see and said “you must be gorgeous!” I said to him “you can see.” He said, “no I”m blind.” I said “no you’re not, you see, you see with your heart” He stood up and said “can I hug you?” I said “of course you can.” As we were hugging one another, I looked around at the people waiting for the downtown subway, and there was one woman with a big smile on her face that radiated right through my bones. My body released more tension.

His name was Bobby Blow and he lived at The Home For The Blind on West 23rd Street. He said that he was going to
have a big birthday party for his 70th year, gave me the date, and
wanted me to come and I told him I would Just then my
train was approaching, we hugged again, and I left to go home and

Bobby continued playing. He was like the Mayor of the 23rd Street Subway. Everyone seemed to know him. ” Goodby Bobby” I yelled out as I
got onto the subway. He waved good-bye to me and yelled out “goodbye gorgeous”

Bobby’s party was one month later, but I never went. I felt lazy and didn’t want to drag myself out of my cozy house. What I did do was call him a year later. I realized it was one of those missed opportunities and I didn’t want to mess it up again. When he got on the phone, I gave him my name, and how we met. I said “I missed your birthday party, but I’ve written a story about you. May I read it to you?” He said “sure, but I have to quiet down my damn roommate first.”Shutup” Bobby said to his roommate,
“I’ve got some important business to take care of on the phone.” Bobby said, “okay, you can begin. Sometimes my roommate is a pain in the ass.” When it got quiet I began reading him the story and at the end there was silence. Bobby said “God Damn, that was a great story. You wrote that about me? Well I’ll be God Damned. I just love that. Thank you for thinking of me and writing about me.”
This summer I graduated from an Interfaith Ministry in NYC, and during graduation week we had a talent show. I got up and began telling the ministers this story between me and Bobby Blow, which is now three years later since it happened. After I finished sharing the story one of the ministers came up to me and said “Sherri, I know Bobby Blow, I visit him every week at the Home for the Blind.”

I never saw or heard Bobby again at the West 23rd Street subway, but  I will always remember our encounter as long as I live.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 at 7:02 am and is filed under African American, Friends and Colleagues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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