he paused at the short crosswalk diagonally from my storefront, taking a relaxed survey of the street and the shops laid out in front of him. i perked up from behind the shop counter, as it isn't often that we get someone on front street that could easily be mistaken for a member of a famous rock band. hmmm....what was this man's story, what was he doing here, in poulsbo? i was already fully invested as he lay his satchel down on the counter in front of me.
i struggle when i think how i might tell my little story effectively, as there is no great crescendo to the tale, nor a punch line, a magic ending, or some grand lesson learned. no, just a fleeting moment eight years ago that stays with me, and an opportunity to bring attention to an artist of revered talent. perhaps it's most poignant to me because of my love for music, or my innate appreciation of a connection shared briefly with a stranger, of two paths crossed.
"i'd like to have a custom stamp made, can you do that here?" yes, we can. and yes, we have an ink that can be used on a compact disc surface, and yes, i can have the stamp mailed to your place, in nashville. his kind, interesting and gentle demeanor allowed me the comfort to delve a little further. he shared that he used to live in this part of the state when he was young - port orchard i think he said - and makes a visit out this way every once in awhile. he reminisced about assorted old landmarks, and great memories of a unique local theater. i sensed the presence of a true and humble artist, one that is sustained by his love of poetry and song. i knew no more than the stories he shared by my prompting, but i clearly got a great sense about him, and i was moved by it all.
our visit ended with an exchange - ink and a stamp traded for two discs of his music. after he left, i was tickled to discover that his tunes so aligned with my own john prine-like musical sensibilites. i became an instant fan of his talents, and kept his discs on a regular rotation of favorites. sadly, just as i had planned to write him for another disc not even a year later, i learned of ron davies' passing.
i have since discovered a lot more about him, and that his songs have been recorded by many well recognized names in the music world. i imagine him to have been a very special soul to have me still longing for more from someone i had met for only 20 minutes. how beautiful to possess such talent to leave precious gifts of music and song for those people one leaves behind.
* * *