Recently my son called me up and asked if I’d come down to watch the children for an evening. It was my daughter-in-law’s birthday and he wanted to surprise her by taking her out to dinner for the evening. I only had a day’s notice and it’s an hour and a half drive one way but my lovely d-i-l rarely gets time away from the children. Not too many will take on 4 children ages 2,4,7 and 9. I was more than happy to do this for her.
Before I went home the next morning, I decided to go to the Aldi’s grocery store to shop. This was only a couple of miles from their home. The Aldi’s closest to me involves a round trip of 60 miles. However, the savings is well worth the trip and I usually combine it with other errands.
While moving down the aisle I began to hear Jingle Bells played on a harmonica. At first I looked around thinking a child with a harmonica might be playing in the next aisle. As I continued to shop, the harmonica music continued with all the familiar Christmas tunes. I realized Aldi’s must be playing Christmas music for the season.
When I came to the check-out line, I saw the source of the beautiful music. An elderly man was sitting on the bagging area happily playing on the harmonica. I heard someone ask the cashier about him and he said the man was usually here 2 or 3 times per week. When I started to bag my groceries, I thanked him for providing the lovely music. A woman came up to speak with him and said she remembered him playing in a nearby mall. He recalled that must have been over 20 years ago. I overheard his whispers to her that he was known as “The Harmonica Man” and had been featured on local radio and television stations.
We continued our conversation and something about him reminded me of my father who was a WWII veteran, so I asked him what year he was born (seems a little rude now). He answered that he was born in 1919. My father was born in 1916 and would have been 100 years old this month. I mentioned he was part of “The Greatest Generation”. He humbly replied that he wouldn’t know about that. He went on and asked me if I enjoyed love songs and he played a beautiful melody. He brought such joy to me and the other shoppers that day. As he left the store pushing an empty shopping cart, I noticed his walker was inside his cart, 97 years old and still bringing joy.
When I went home, I decided to do a little research on him since he said he had been featured on local stations as The Harmonica Man. What I discovered (and PLEASE listen to this interview: he is so much more than The Harmonica Man. He is one of The Greatest Generation!