The Harmonica Man

The moment I laid eyes on Andy Mackie, I fell in love. I fell in love with an intoxicating laughter, a mesmerizing glare and a kind, sincere, and gentle soul. As soon as he said, “Hello, you must be the lady from Seattle.” I immediately realized that I was in the presence of perhaps the most amazing person on the planet.

A former livestock manager, horse trainer, and founder of his own music foundation, Andy Mackie has lived a long and fruitful existence. Born into a poverty-stricken family, he learned at a young age that only three things matter in life–love, family, and music. Every wrinkle on his face tells a story of the long journey from Ellon, Scotland to Chimacum, Washington. Stories about overcoming all sorts of adversity, including the loss of a sister, wife, countless heart attacks, ten heart surgeries, fifteen stints, a horse accident that resulted in paralysis…and so on and so on.

Andy is the embodiment of strength, stoicism, and perseverance.

In these past two days, I learned more about adventure than all of my world travels combined! I learned that you needn’t go far to experience life’s grandeur. I learned that love, when given away freely and unselfishly, is the best gift you can bestow anyone and it’s also the best gift that you can receive. I learned that as long as you do your best, God doesn’t care about the rest. I learned how a person can live simply (and I do mean more simply than any ‘minimalist’ inspired self-help book will ever claim) and be truly content and at peace. I learned that it’s not about the challenges, but how you react to the challenges. I learned that I ain’t got nothin’ on this wise old man. It was a humbling experience and that’s a good thing.

The reality is, Andy’s clock is ticking. With all the trauma his body has endured over the years, he could die at any moment.  He lives each day as if it’s his last…literally making every second count. His warm heart, unconditional love, and never-ending dedication to foster music in each and every individual he meets has earned the love and respect of an entire community. Everyone loves Andy…everyone.

Gosh! What more is there to say?

I sought Andy as a subject for my next “Why Music?” piece and while his video is currently in the works, I get this funny feeling God had a bigger plan all along. I suppose what I really want to say is, that just when you think chivalry is long gone and no one understands the real meaning of love and friendships, I’m reminded that people like Andy Mackie really do exist–rare gems that if your lucky enough to find, you’ll be blessed for the rest of your life.

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4 thoughts on “The Harmonica Man

  1. I have the incredible joy of spending a little time each week with Andy as a parent volunteer in one of his after school guitar classes. He is surely a local treasure and blessing in my life. Thanks for doing this piece on him!

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