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a POST Card from John Flynn

My four-legged opening act, Cooper, comes off stage as I wait to be introduced last weekend in Evansville, Indiana
(photo by Tshirt Cathy Woolsey)
 

Hi Friends,

I’m just back from a week in the Midwest where we had a great time and some real nice turnouts for the shows. I’m told we actually set an attendance record with my first appearance at the Depot in Chelsea, Michigan last Wednesday night!

One of the shows was actually a house concert I’ve played many times in Evansville, Indiana called Concerts in the Cabin. I’m enclosing a YouTube link of the evening’s impromptu encore, as I think it kind of captures what I love about intimate and spontaneous nature of these special shows. I had not intended to perform “Swino, the Cow-Fighting Pig”, but when the audience (spurred on by my mischievous road-buddy and sometimes “merch-wench”, Tshirt Cathy) begins chanting “Pig! Pig! Pig!...”, well, there’s not a lot you can do!!! :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6S-dMGOZFg&feature=youtu.be



I’ll be doing a house concert in Lake Placid, NY this coming Saturday, November 15. Then Sunday afternoon the 16th, I’ll be returning to the Acoustic Celebration series in Ridgefield, Connecticut at 4PM. Please check my schedule at www.johnflynn.net for more info.

I had such a nice reaction to a recent facebook/twitter post that I thought I’d copy it below for those of you who do not follow me on social media.

Thanks so much for your continuing support of my music! Hope to see you soon.

Peace,

John

 


October 18,2014, Oakland, CA


Like Arlo Guthrie said, if the world were all "peaced out and loved up", it would be hard to make a positive difference. But in a world like we got; a world that SUCKS, you don't have to do very much at all. For example...

I just had breakfast with Larry, or L as he likes to be called. Larry is a 36 year-old black man who lives on the streets of Oakland, California. He approached me for spare change on my way into Burger King this morning, about three blocks from my hotel.

(Yeah. I know BK's a corporate tax dodge, but I couldn't see myself shelling out the $23 for the Marriott's breakfast bar, and their breakfast biscuit sandwich and coffee are actually pretty good)!

L had a bright cheerful smile, but a slightly worrisome tinge in his eyes that was brought out by his worn yellow sweater. I told him I didn't usually give out money on the street but that I'd be happy to buy him something to eat. He eagerly accepted and was overjoyed to find that BK offered burgers on their breakfast menu. L was very deferential when I asked him if he wanted to eat with me, or take his meal to go. I don't mind either way, he said. I told him I could use the company (after two days at a folk music convention, anyone without a guitar or banjo was a breath of fresh air)!, so after filling a dozen small paper cups with ketchup and emptying an equal number of sugar packets into his coffee, L joined me at a bench seat by the window.

As we ate we had a fascinating conversation.

L told me that asking people for money was his full-time job, and that there were simply no others available to him. Although I had suspicions, I didn’t presume to ask why this was. We were simply two men getting to know each other, and I wanted to respect personal boundaries.

I decided to concentrate on only the information that was offered.

L told me that he meets all kinds of people everyday. Nice ones. Angry ones. Scared ones. People that yell at you. And, he smiled and said, the best kind of all… people who reach into their wallets!

This last kind of person, L said, is becoming harder to find, what with the economy and how hard everybody seems to have it these days. But there are always some folks out there who are willing to help if they can.

You must have gotten be pretty good at reading people, I said.

How do you mean?, he asked.

Well, I continued, if you spend all your time going up to strangers, you must have a developed a sense of who to approach. A way of telling which ones will be more receptive than others. Who the nice ones are... Who the nasty ones are… I bet you at this point you can pick them out, huh?

L smiled and shook his head and said, John, you can’t never tell anything by just looking at someone. People will always surprise you. Some people look real mean, but they brighten right up and reach into their pockets for you. Others seem nice but threaten to call a cop as soon as you go up to them. In my business, you just NEVER know.

I asked L who the worst person he ever approached for money was. He replied, How do you mean, worst? I don’t know, I said, I just wondered if there was one bad experience that jumped out in your memory. Someone that over-reacted in a way that stood out from all the others. He couldn't really come up with anyone. He said, Nah, even if they get a little worked up, once they know you’re gonna leave them alone, they always settle down.

Then I asked if he had any GOOD stories. Like maybe he once approached a rich man on the street who handed him a thousand dollars right on the spot! L almost snorted his sugar-charged coffee laughing at this thought. Now wouldn’t THAT be something, he said! A thousand dollars! Nah, John, no millionaire’s come along so far…

What would you do with the money if it HAPPENED someday, I asked. What, he replied– What would I do if someone gave me a thousand bucks? He smiled and his eyes looked somewhere off into the distance. Man, I’d buy me some real nice clothes, he said. And then I’d get some good food. A lot of good food. Then his smile faded a little, and he said, Then I’d try to figure out how not to let anyone get the rest of my money.

You mean steal it?, I asked

Yeah, man, he said. That’s’ a lot of bread. That would be a big worry having that much money to protect. So the money would actually casue you NEW problems?, I asked with a grin. He said, Yeah! You got to be careful with a big pile of cash like that! I’d have to figure that shit OUT!

OK, I continued, if there were no generous millionaires, SO FAR, who IS the nicest person you ever met on the street. He said, Oh, that’s easy, John, It’s YOU. Me? I asked, I had only spent six dollars on his breakfast; surely this couldn’t have set any kind of philanthropic record in this man’s life!

L said, Yeah, man. In all these years out here, you’re the first person who ever wanted to eat with me.


–JF

You can follow John on twitter @singwriter
 

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Most of this stuff was typed by a songer-singwriter, so please excuse typos and double check all info!

  

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