I often sing while cooking and doing the dishes. For three consecutive evenings in early April 2024 while preparing for and cleaning up after dinner I serenaded myself over and over with a song called “Stewball”. It’s about a race horse and not a particular edifying ditty, but it seemed to have taken hold of me,

I generally sing several songs during each dinner prep and dish-washing session, so by evening three, having sung nothing but “Stewball” I had to ask myself, “Why? Why? When there are so many songs you could be singing, why Stewball?” As I lay in bed that night waiting for sleep the question was still in my thoughts, and it seemed as if the melody was playing softly somewhere nearby.

The next day I rode the J Church MUNI line inbound to Downtown San Francsico. As we entered the underground segment of the journey, I noticed that a pleasant looking fellow with curly gray hair and wearing a well-worn flaxen coat was sitting near the rear door of the car softly playing sort of jazzy flamenco on a venerable guitar. I got up and sat near him explaining that I wanted to hear better. He smiled and played a little louder, meandering through several melodies and then…you guessed it…he began to sing “Stewball”. By the time he got to the last verse I was sufficiently recovered from my muddled thoughts to sing along.

The minstrel does not appear to be a phantom. I have bumped into him twice subsequent to the Stewball encounter, both times above ground and in broad daylight. His name is Jerry. He tells me that he often plays from 1 to 2 PM on weekends at Bird and Becket Books and Records in SF’s Glen Park neighborhood.

If you found what you just read more interesting and/or amusing than annoying I encourage you to check out my 2012 post The Rabbit of Synchronicity.

And for your listening pleasure, The Hollies give you Stewball.

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