I pulled up to a stop sign in a vast parking lot. A McDonald’s was next to me. I saw a man sitting on the grass playing a guitar. He had long brown hair and a handlebar mustache, nicely twirled. A bicycle laden with possessions rested near him. He was busking the exit of the McDonald’s drive-thru lane. I powered down my window and fished out a buck. I said something. He came over.
“Do you know any Beatles?” I said.
“No, I just learned how to play. I got the guitar nine months ago.”
I handed him the buck. He thanked me.
“Do you know any songs?” I said.
“Play me one.”
“How about Lynyrd Skynyrd?”
Rock and roll died for me a long, long time ago, and nothing is deader than a Lynyrd Skynyrd song on classic rock radio. If one comes, I’ll turn it off.
“Sure,” I said.
He launched into the immortal opening lick of “Sweet Home Alabama.” He was playing the hell out of it. He sounded great.
“Turn it up,” I said. He smiled.
“You got it brother,” he said.
I had to move. I drove away hearing him strumming the song. If I heard singing, I was damn well turning around, giving him a $20, and listening to the whole damn tune.
But I didn’t hear any vocals and I kept on driving.
I’d be back soon to check on his progress. If he plays anything by the Stones, he’s getting 50 bucks.