In my last story “Say What,” I said I would try to check out a woman’s statement that the wealthy Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour did not share his wealth with the needy. I did Google N’Dour and learned that the woman’s statement was not true. N’Dour’s activism and charity has focused on “children, health, human rights, poverty, slavery and human trafficking” in his home country and beyond, including his organization and performance in a charity concert for the release of Nelson Mandela in 1985.
N’Dour is a fantastic performer. My daughter and I attended his concert on Aug. 10 at Millennium Park. N’Dour and his musicians kept us on our feet, moving to the beat as did hundreds of others in attendance.
Before N’Dour took the stage, I went to Millennium’s enclosed, underground area and saw a man I thought I recognized. I touched him on his back and said, “Excuse me, but aren’t you a clarinetist?” He said, “Yes” and asked where I had seen him. I said I had seen him at the Symphony Center and at Northwestern University. He and his wife seemed happy that I recognized him. Of course, I could not remember his name until I returned to my seat. It was Larry Combs. It was good to see him.
When returning home from the concert on public transportation, I observed a Red line train from Chicago pull in on the southbound side of the Howard Street Station as I waited for the Purple line on the northbound side. This can be very confusing for passengers that want the Purple or Yellow line, since the conductors do not always tell passengers that they have to cross over to the northbound side.
I commented on this to a young man standing near me as we both looked across at confused passengers. The young man agreed and then said, “I’m from Cross-Rhodes.”
“Oh,” I said, “Thanks for telling me because I would have wondered how I knew you after I got home.” I learned a few days later that his name is Sam. Sam is a very pleasant person, and I must admit that I was flattered that he remembered me from dining at Cross-Rhodes Restaurant in Evanston.
On Aug. 19, I went to the Air and Water Show in Chicago. While riding to Chicago on the train, I offered a couple of passengers eclipse glasses. A couple seated across from me looked at me in such a way that I asked if they wanted glasses, too. They did. The couple and I ended up going to the show together, sitting together with the woman’s students, who met her there, and exchanging contact information to be in touch afterwards. Wow.
While at the show, I observed a senior citizen leaning against the fence behind us. I was standing up, because I was tired of sitting on my collapsible chair. I asked the senior if she wanted to sit down. Her face lit up. She came over to the chair quickly, thanked me and sat down. Her relief and gratitude let me know the offer of my chair had been right on target.
The first two lines of the song People (written by Bob Merrill and Jule Styne and sung by Barbra Streisand in the musical People) are: “People who need people Are the luckiest people in the world.” That may be true, but I would probably say: People who like people are the luckiest people in the world because when people like people as a whole, it helps people not lose their compassion for all people when some people seem to be the devil’s playmates. (Whew. How was that for a mouthful?)