One Man and His Horn: Birmingham

I drove into Birmingham around 9:30am  and found a coffee shop to work in.  I started talking to a man named Eric, who lives there, but he is moving to New York.  He was very helpful with some information as to where I could play.  Turns out, right outside of where I was.  It was called, The 5 Points Corner.  We got to talking and he was a great person.  I told him what I am doing. He told me why he was moving to New York, for a job and his wife will be going to school there.  I wish them the best of luck.  He invited me to lunch after I found out what laws were.  He didn’t know the laws about busking, so he pointed out an officer to me who was standing outside.  I went to talk to her and she directed me to the officer in charge of that beat.

I went to talk to that officer, and he told me I needed a Peddler’s License.  There have been problems with panhandling there.  I felt we had a mutual respect for each other, so I said to him,  “You are aware there is a difference between busking and panhandling?”  He said, “Yes”  then went on to tell me about another busker who was causing problems for the businesses there.  I thanked him for his time and I was all set to go.  I understood, and was okay with it.   I was just going to the next city.

Then I hear his voice behind me, “What do you play?”

“The saxophone”

“You any good?”

“I am no Charlie Parker, but I can hold my own”

“Go get it and play for me”  I think he was intrigued.

As always, I am just too happy to do that.  I went to get Gilda, and played for him.  Just a little improv bit for a couple of minutes.   He gave  me a thumbs up and said “Go ahead”  He was a very cool officer, much like the other ones I have met. I had to put my stuff in the coffee shop away and get the rest of my gear.  Eric reminded me of where he would be when I was done.  It didn’t take long, I wailed for about 15 minutes and it started to rain.  I packed up as quick as I could and I went to meet Eric.  He was having lunch with his friend Ryan, also very cool.  They are both play writes and very involved in theater. It was a treat to be having lunch with them.  I enjoyed their conversation and they were interested in my story.  I was very grateful for the lunch Eric bought me, I thought it was very generous of him.  I gave him a cd in appreciation.  I wish him and Ryan the best.

Though the rain had stopped, lunch was over and nobody was out and about. I only had until 3:00 anyway and it was almost 2:00.  So I left for the next city.  I changed my plans, and got to Memphis last night.

I am also grateful to the police officer for letting me play. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name and it wasn’t for very long, but I am still happy for the opportunity.



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