From Kate Racculia’s The Bellweather Rhapsody


She pushed their voices aside and listened to the record and fell deeper and deeper in love. P 44

Every morning as I am getting ready for work, I put on a record that suits my mood. Many are show tunes, some the singers of my youth. Some days are Sound of Music others Glen Gould. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing down the choices to see if there was a pattern, but once you start to qualify you mess with the magic.

Mornings are my time, M has gone to work and T has gone to school. The music from the record player fills the house and there is not one to comment on my selection. It sets the tone for the day. Most of my records have come from the dollar bin, the unspoken agreement being that we can buy most anything we don’t already own on CD and preferably something we didn’t previously own on vinyl. I find that showtunes are best for mornings and I am often surprised that even on the first listen, all of the songs are familiar to me, not just the popular pieces. Even the songs on the B side (or another side as it is called on the Piano Man album) evoke a memory in me. Of course the Billy Joel should be after listening to it countless times on my uncles 8 track player. When I was in high school and he had recently moved out of my gram’s house I often snuck up into his room, I imagine the lyrics are tattooed on my brain.

As much as I love turning on the record player and waiting for that blissful moment before the needle engages with the record, I haven’t played anything for the past few weeks. T is home from camp and he tries to stay in bed and long as he can before walking his dog, having a little nibble for breakfast and getting ready for work. Lately the click-clack of the computer keys, the crunch of LEGO raking and T whistling an inspired tune make up our soundtrack– and it suits me just fine. It leaves space for my writerly thoughts to wander. After all of this I grab my lunch, my camera and my bags o’ stuff and we head for the car. I often have an audiobook playing when its just me, but T prefers music. There is a radio station we’ve compromised on. The drive into town is quite short, more of a jaunt, but we can usually listen to a few songs in that span of time. Nothing gives me greater joy than one of my favorite songs from my earlier life filling the car. Each time I expect I will be singing solo, but then T joins in. Billy Joel, Ben Folds, Dave Matthews their songs are the great equalizers. Singing along we are distracted from any previous disagreements.

That brings to mind another quote from The Bellweather:

Rabbit had never understood music before as an agent of connection, as a way for people not only to feel within themselves but to feel among themselves, a language that brought the common soul into conversation.

When Corinne Bailey Rae comes on the radio and we are singing to the girl to put her records on, I feel as if we’ve somehow come full circle. The intentionality of the records, the randomness of the radio and the immediacy of the digital sound systems all working together with our voices to produce a moment, a memory, a sound bite that I will replay in my head when I want to recall the fleeting summer.

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