O Come, O Come, Emanuel

(You can thank me later for putting a Christmas song into your heads in early summer.)

At the end of last summer, after a delay delivered by pushy Hurricane Irene, I flew out to Providence, Rhode Island, to return my daughter to school.  She was moving into a new dorm, and we just have a helluva good time poking around the city, so I was along for the ride.  Some people would call Providence “gritty,” but I love the place.  It’s not so hygienic to be uncomfortable.  It’s hilly, artsy, charming, and authentic.  And the coffee at Coffee Exchange will knock your socks off because your toenails will explode.  Combine all of the above with clear, blue post-hurricane weather, and the trip was one of the best ever.  However, my brightest memory was Emanuel.

When my daughter and I travel, we tend to go cheap, which means taking public transportation–a strange and mysterious concept to most residents in the middle of the Land of Cheese, where each person is required by law to drive a car, pickup, and/or tractor, alone.  Back to the bus…We were sitting at a bus stop on a busy street, taking in the blue sky above and the branches and leaves littering the ground below, when we hear singing coming our way.  Both of us thought simultaneously, “Oh crap!  Here comes a loon.  Look down, look down, just don’t look into his eyes…”  And the singing came closer, and it was GOOD.   The singer was a black man, probably in his thirties, with a perfect, nice (as opposed to evil) jack-o’ lantern smile, which curved up sweetly at the corners.  Dear God, he came into the shelter and talked to us (back to the “loon…loon…loon” refrain in our minds).  He said he worked as a plumber, but he was going to be singing at his niece’s wedding and was trying to choose which song to sing, so he asked us to listen to one and let us know what he thought.  It was a song Stevie Wonder had sung, he said, and it told about a parent’s love for a child (…and though I Google endlessly, I have never found that song).  My daughter and I agree that we never felt so blessed as the moment that man sang to us.  His voice was clear and deep, his expression was sincere, and the song was perfect.  When we picked our jaws up off the ground, we told him we approved.  He smiled brightly and thanked us, wished us a beautiful day, and he continued off down the street, singing.  All we could do was stare and wonder what had just hit us.  It was a beautiful day, thanks to Emanuel.

How strange was it that he sang family love, he was going to a wedding, his name was Emanuel…and we met in Providence?


~ by rebuildingholly on May 15, 2012.

One Response to “O Come, O Come, Emanuel”

  1. That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

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