As I was rushing home I saw an older man sitting crosslegged (or I assumed, he only had half of his left) on a corner stoop, wailing away on a harmonica. There wasn’t hat or case to be seen, but I saw a pile of change below him. I stood & listened for a while.
After a few licks he stopped. He turned his face towards me, then smiled. “Come on up here, sonny," he invited in a Creole drawl.
Tentatively I edged towards the man. “You play great, sir,” I mumbled as I sat down.
He chuckled. “Jus’ doin’ what I do. Don’ got much ‘cept me, my ‘monica, the food I eat & the air I breathe. Play on corners for folks, & pray to the Lord for one more day.”
He hummed a little more. “Y’know sonny,” he said, “never know what you got till it’s long gone.”
“I’ve heard,” I replied rather stiffly.
“No no, you listen to me. All a man need on this earth’s a shirt on his back, a meal in his gut & a head fulla knowin. But some know too much." He shook his head sadly. "I know too much; some things not meant to be seen, Sonny Jim. Do your knowin’ early, so you can’t get knowin’ what the Lord don’ want’y’t know. I done what I did, & I done my best. Y’jes gotta do whu'y'do, an' y'gotta praise the Lord, & He’ll take care’v’th rest. He done so with me.”