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Music Amidst the Mangos

   So, I went to Stop & Shop today to pick up the week's groceries. No news there one would think. Except that as I rounded the produce aisle I distinctly heard not piped in music but rather some close-sounding strumming and a bit of singing of an off-key blues number. A wandering shopper? Little Tommy Tucker perhaps?
    I kept shopping. I looked over the rainbow-colored peppers and picked out a bag of broccoli cole slaw to try on my husband later. But that music kept playing. I couldn't see where it was coming from and assumed there was some new-fangled kind of music machine someplace.
    I pushed the cart down the next aisle looking for coffee and green tea and the music didn't stop. Then, I got down to the end of the aisle and there was a short man with Brillo pad gray hair who has bagged my groceries a hundred times. I looked at him and gave him a big smile and nod and he did the same in-between verses of Fly Me to the Moon. There was my "bagger" performing at the end of aisle 2 - complete with guitar, amplifier and microphone.
    Now I know all about the cafe guy at Wegman's in Syracuse who belts out tunes while he puts your eggwich together on Sunday mornings. This wasn't like that.
    This was a clearly 55-plus-year-old guy who has spent I don't know how long being a bagger at this store. And this store isn't a giant place. It's tiny. And you may find a lot of bling at the Edgartown Stop & Shop in August, but in February you're apt to find harried moms, a bunch of grandmothers and some guys who put up dry wall all day getting ready to go home to their families and a frozen pizza.
    I couldn't help but be happy for him. What a set of balls. Who does that? And who lets someone do that? I feel like I should write a strongly worded letter in praise of the Stop & Shop Sinatra. He'd introduce a number saying, "This is one of my favorite numbers. I heard it one time in a bar in New Bedford…"
    Seriously. Where else could I ever encounter this? If Parish, N.Y., had a legitimate grocery store, maybe. I gotta tell you, both Martha's Vineyard and Parish welcome the strange in stranger.
    The beautiful part of this whole thing was that there was no eye-rolling. Nobody thinks this sucks. Everybody thinks this is a fabulous idea. And nobody finds this unusual except me. And probably my husband, who I believe did roll his eyes when I told him about it.
    I have spent the rest of this day shaking my head in wonder. I'm smiling. I'm thinking this is so awesome. I'm thinking what a great place to be. I'm thinking my son should come here and try playing some Jimi Hendrix at the end of aisle 7.
    In a world where there are bombs and murders and general all-around mayhem, how cool is it that there's a little grocery store where a guy is free to sing his heart out, no matter what key he's in and out of, and he's welcomed and embraced. It renews my faith in humanity I tell you. Best to look around right where you are and see the little Sinatras. Shake their hands, give them a smile and let them know you believe in them.

You are all I long for
All I worship and adore


Anonymous said…
I loved this! Laughed all the way through it. Brought back memories of karaoke at the Parish fire hall.
- Janet

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