Heaven doesn’t need harmonica players

Andy mackie by jessise watson

Andy Mackie, a retired horse trainer, had 9 heart surgeries.  The resulting 15 prescriptions caused more problems than they were worth so he stopped taking them.  That’s a lot of dough for a lot of drugs.  So what did he do with the money he saved?

He figured he’d live for only about a month or so so he spent what time he had left doing what he loved.  He bought a ton of harmonicas and started teaching kids how to play, for free.

A funny thing happened.  He didn’t die.

The next month he bought more harmonicas, taught more kids.

Several more heart attacks, one more heart surgery, 11 years and 16,000 harmonicas later he’s still blowin’ the blues.  When asked why he thinks he’s still here, he says he guesses heaven doesn’t need harmonica players.

Now that’s inspirational.

The image of Andy is by Jesse Joshua Watson, an artist from Washington.  Check out this short video about a book he’s writing for children about Haiti.


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2 Responses to “Heaven doesn’t need harmonica players”

  1. Dyana Valentine Says:
    May 10th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I am crying and smiling all at once right now. Okay, let me give you some back story–I just travelled to speak for four days–I couldn’t sleep (extremely rare) for the whole trip and there were myriad technical and interpersonal snafus on the trip. I’m exhausted. I opened up my day for resting and (finally able to) getting sleep, I’ve been napping–to the tune of a bunch of anxiety dreams. ACK! Waking up more tired and furious is not cool. So, I pound the pellet bar and check email. I immediately go to RPS, because it always makes me happier. Really. This post was over the top–I watched twice–my furiosity is G.O.N.E. and I am starting a list of things that would make me feel SOOOO good. Thank you, Lee-Anne, and Andy Mackie, for saving the day. Seriously and with great service.

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    May 10th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I feel, uh, hard to put into words, how I feel by your post – humbled for the impact the post made. Really!

    He (Andy) is quite the guy and I’ve watched that interview many times now and it never ceases to amaze me. Jesse Watson, the artist who created the picture of Andy on the post, is quite the cool guy too. He and I had a lovely little exchange when I asked about using his artwork. Usually I don’t have any problems finding a creative commons licensed photo on flickr. This time there was nada pic of Andy, for which I’m so glad because it led me to Jesse. Check out the link to his video on the post, it’ll give you cause for smiling too. Love how he uses photography in it.

    Here’s to good sleep. As I say to my little guy when I tuck him in at night – I’ll see you in your dreams.

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