Sunday, December 24, 2017

Last Friday

We walked into Russo’s market last weekend to be greeted by the sound of music. At first, we thought they just had the volume turned up on their sound system, but then we saw there were live performers set up, giving a holiday concert there, between the lemons and poinsettias.

For the last song, they called up their own, Gilly, who works in the deli, to sing “Time to Say Goodbye.” Here’s the best recording of that performance I’ve found (Sunday, Dec. 17th, 2017): 

The crowd stilled and drew near, stopped by the beauty and depth of feeling entrained in his voice, reverberating across the wooden rafters. Every soul in the room stopped, so touched. Sometimes you just walk into something or someone and you just know – this is special. Like the day you first met your spouse. Or opened your eyes to a new day in a new town. Chills, tears, goosebumps.  

His story has now been covered by local news, national news, TV, radio, and newspaper, and of course social media.  

Here’s the deal:

Last Friday, Guilherme (Gilly) Assuncao was a deli guy. Originally from Brazil, just 23 years old, he moved to Boston recently, having started as a dishwasher at Russo’s about six months ago. Last Friday, the owners were preparing for a holiday concert the next day, and were setting up the sound system. Gilly offered to help with the sound check. They asked if he could sing. So stunned by his voice, they added him to the bill for their holiday concert. The rest is now history.

What a difference a week can make. He’s not just an amazing singer, but humble and kind. His dream is to go to Berklee School of Music, and pursue a career in music. Someone has even started a GoFundMe page:

Since hearing Gilly sing last weekend, my mind has been spinning on overtime processing this.

First, it just feels like one of those sudden, surprise, magical, miracles of the season, where anything can happen.

Second, on another level, this serves as an inspiring reminder to look for, see and believe in the possibility within each individual, and really see them. When we look at someone, do we see only what is before us, who they are today, or do we have the vision to see what may be within, and what they may become, if offered the right opportunities, and the right platform or stage, literally and metaphorically? It’s only a little jump, to quote the lyrics from Joan Osborne’s song:

What if God was one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?

What if God is in each and every one of us, every stranger on every bus?

When we say “Namaste,” or “the light in me honors the light in you,” can we really imagine and see that light, both within ourselves and in each other?

I’ll make a third even wilder leap.
Last Friday, who knew that Gilly, who worked in the deli, might have the voice of an angel?
And who knew what the future would hold for the tiny baby, born in a humble manger, on a night just like tonight, so many years ago?
Merry Christmas!
And to all a good night!

One of the greatest books about writing is by Brenda Ueland, titled If You Want to Write. Published in 1938, it still rings just as true today. A couple of quotes from Brenda:

“Everybody is talented, original, and has something important to say.”

“For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and poet alive and make it flourish.”

May we see all the many miracles, gods and poets, surrounding us everyday, if we only have eyes to see them!

And, yes, of course we had to get our picture taken w/ Gilly. I feel fortunate that we even happened to walk in when we did to hear him sing.



Songs For The Season:

“Better Days,” by the Goo Goo Dolls.

“Don’t Tell Me You Don’t Like Christmas,” by the Careless Sons.

Coming Next:
A post for the New Year, reflecting on 2017. Plus, links to the blogs and radio shows that chronicled this highly unusual period in our country’s history.  

Mark Your Calendar:
·         February 17, 2018: Poetry night at the Bull Run Inn Restaurant in Shirley, MA. Please be sure to reserve your ticket, and e-mail the organizers if you’d like to read your poetry. Again, it is not a slam, but instead a simple sharing of humanity. “Words Change Everything.”

 “Even more than bread, we now need poetry, in a time when it seems that it is not needed at all.”

~Leopold Staff
Sometimes we need both poetry & bread!


Ueland, Brenda. 1938. (The Estate of Brenda Ueland. 1987) If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit. Graywolf Press: Minneapolis, MN.

© 2017 Rosemary A. Schmidt
Rose Schmidt is the author of “Go Forward, Support! The Rugby of Life” (Gainline Press 2004). The views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the views of any other agency or organization. Use of individual quotes with proper citation and attribution, within the limits of fair use, is permitted. If you would like to request permission to use or reprint any of the content on the site, please contact me. Twitter: Rosebud@GainlineRS

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