Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happiness is....City Market, A Happy Gillis Breakfast And A Musical Childhood

The first whir of the record player.....the needle hits the record and then a little static would begin. The needle settles into the grooves and the first notes float into the ether. I was always a pop culture puppy but few things made me happier during my childhood than music. My Mickey Mouse record player would be my first mode of music and would feature various 45s featuring everyone from the Partridge Family to The Archies to the theme to the Aristocats (the folks declared me far too young for Jimi Hendrix, after all). I would, in time, be allowed to buy K-Tel albums, which were the forefathers of the Now hit compilations we have today. I discovered Elton John on those albums and his early music would change everything for me and begin what would be the soundtrack of my life. A couple of my favorite Rocket Man tunes are on my playlist on the right. The K-Tel and Elton albums would send me on a road to discovering more mature music and soon 8-tracks arrived and I inherited my sister Mona's tunes. The Jim Croce tapes stand out in my memory (Operator.....would you help me make this call?).

The years would pass and my parents old Magnavox AM/FM radio would be placed in my Dad's garage and tuned to 95WXIL for endless repeats of Top 40 tunes. I carried a portable cassette tape player and I would set up the microphone by the TV speaker or radio to make my precursor to mix tapes....random snippets of popular tunes that I would clumsily edit together. My friends and I would write song lyrics in chalk on my Dad's garage floor. We would read Richie Rich and Archie Comics Digest and Mom would bring kid mustard sandwiches and dill pickles and her version of Shoney's hot fudge cakes for snackin'. We would sing with the songs at the top of our lungs and I would inevitably mangle the lyrics.

Music was such an integral part of my childhood and largely defined much of my happiness. I would certainly grow to be a film buff and a bookworm, but it was music that sparked my serenity when I was younger. At some point, though, that joy faded and seemed to turn into occasional fascination. I still enjoy music and lately I've dug the sounds of Adele and Mumford and Sons. I don't get the vibe I once got from it, though. When did my love affair with music just fade away? I think its gone the way of my own musical abilities; faded into the sunset along with my voice. I used to love to sing my lungs out and dance all night but neither holds as much sway with me anymore. Seem like a sad state of affairs? It did to me once, but not anymore.

People change; tastes change. I wrote this post because this morning was pure happiness for me as I define it now. We went to City Market for our first farmer's market of the season and started out the morning with a delicious breakfast at Happy Gillis in Columbus Park. I had their signature breakfast sandwich of scrambled eggs, Webster City bacon and cheddar on toasted multigrain bread. Its a charmer of a joint and clearly, we need to return for what sounds like some seriously creative lunch sandwiches. Check out their menu here.

Strolling the bustling City Market on a beautiful spring day constitutes great happiness for me now. The primo people watching, the seductive aromas of the spice market, the sounds of the bustling Italian deli....its all wonderful. This particular Saturday featured Earth Day festivities including electric and solar cars and this ion-powered wonder developed by an amazing program called MINDDRIVE; a non-profit organization working to inspire at-risk teens to expand their vision of the future. Check this amazing organization out here. We bought Pappardelle Pasta, pink lady apples and fresh asparagus. Music plays a part as well and it's in my preferred form these A flautist performs in one corner, a woman with an accordion in another and a band brings the rhythm in the middle of the market. This is indeed bliss to me these days; a sensory bouquet in every way.

As I said, I still have great appreciation for music and these days, I seem to get the most enjoyment from live music. My friend Connie calls live music a "gift from the gods", and I couldn't agree more. My standout recent musical memory was a sublime Rufus Wainwright concert at the Voodoo Lounge that Ronnie took me to. I have great admiration for Ronnie, Drew, Linda, Connie and so many of my other friends who still carry on such glorious love affairs with music. I'm sure I'll get there again some day.

For now, I'll entertain and celebrate a few other senses....and crank the tunes while I do it.


Lisa Mandina said...

I have never been to the farmer's market before. I need to get down there one of these days.
I remember my 8 track player, my favorite cassette was the Pete's Dragon soundtrack. I could probably still sing those songs!

Kristy said...

All the best moments of my childhood have just been summed up in this post. The music, the food, the laughter and even the mangled lyrics (I won't tell on ya Greg). Fantastic post!

Confounded Cook said...

Thanks, Krystalena. You were right at my side for everyone of the childhood moments on this post.

Anonymous said...

Loved the post and the retro pics. Very cool!


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