My amazing artist friend, Peter Jon Snyder posted a pic that reminded me of my guitar teacher, Russ Faith. By the time I became his student, Faith had written the song “Strangers in the Night” that Sinatra recorded with the ad lib “Dooby dooby doo.” I was a teenager and profoundly unimpressed. Sinatra was the mascot of old school Italian Philly, which wasn’t my scene at all, except where cheesesteaks were concerned. I identified with the Philly folkers, folk/rockers and also loved Philly Sound R&B. To further sour my attitude toward Russ, he had replaced my original teacher Bill, a relatively young, hip, and good-looking guy on whom I had a mad crush.
I had nooo idea that the man who patiently coached my resentful self in that little room was “Mr. Music.” He was just the guy who was at (maybe) 40, ancient and to me, irrelevant. There was another element, which had to do with potential. Had music truly been my form, I might have persevered. I quit guitar lessons in favor of writing and art as was my correct path. But still, I think back to how I sat so close for all those hours with a man so richly gifted and with such a good heart without ever really engaging or recognizing him for who he was.
Each one of us has our own story. The people we encounter bring gifts of accomplishment, wisdom, experience and spiritual presence that we may never come to appreciate if our eyes and ears and hearts are closed like mine was to this gentleman, a “Stranger in the Day” to me who passed ten years ago.
May we see the Inner Light in everyone and may we recognize the Friend in “strangers.”