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“The responsibility stops with the giver.” – Greg, a Charlotte Busker

Louisa met her first busker this morning. Our new friend, Greg, said he was pleased to meet her and appreciated how friendly and interested she seemed. He said that often pets and their people are frightened by him and even by his music.

Greg enjoys this public park to practice and to prepare for his day job in the heart of Charlotte at Trade and Tryon, where he works as a Busker. He does well enough to cover his modest needs in these afternoon.

But spending his mornings playing in the park is more relaxing. That’s when he can watch the ducks swim on the lake, work on his music, and even meet a new friend or two.

It’s interesting to me how Louisa is so at home with different people. Perhaps it’s because she has grown up around the park, meeting the unique people with their pets, hearing different sounds and even different languages. This busker did not seem any stranger than anything else she has seen. Plus his music helped her relax, just like it does for the busy workers who only get freed from their desks for short breaks.

Gretchen Yanover is my favorite busker. I still listen to her music on her YouTube Channel.

Some people don’t like it when they notice people performing their music on the street, with a guitar case open for loose change. But Louisa and I think of them as any other artist who needs patrons for a livelihood. Patrons are the shareholders for artists as entertained pedestrians are the share-holders for buskers.

Greg doesn’t just perform, he notices things about the world around him. During our visit, he commented on my Urban Ministry Center T-shirt. Even though he hasn’t used UMC much, he is happy to know they are there for him if he needs them.

We talked about neighbors who need help and stand on street corners with a card board sign. I told him how I worry that if I give these people money, my dollar might be contributing to more addictive behavior, but Greg has another view on gifts. He said he thinks that the responsibility stops with the giver.

He was raised with this idea and has polished his six words over the years.

Greg’s thoughts echo Ralph Waldo Emerson’s beliefs on Gifts from 1844.

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.”

According to Greg, Charlotte once had more buskers than we enjoy today. That’s sad, he thinks, because buskers add happiness to the daily lives of city people.

What do you think? Do we need more buskers in our lives?

I think we do, and maybe we need them more today than ever to help us slow down and just be happy.

What else adds to the happiness of my city? How can a city be more than the bustling commerce of shiny office towers?

Do buskers add to the cultural richness of a city – or is a busker just another panhandler with a guitar instead of a cardboard sign?

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran

Epilogue

Do you think these sights and sounds would be welcome in Charlotte, or in your home town?