Opened the door and almost tripped over a box.
It wasn’t for me. Mr. Amazon dropped an item off for Son #2. I left it on his bed so he’d see it when he came home from work.
“What’s in the box?” Usually the grandparents will send something out of the blue… a card, maybe a sweatshirt, sometimes a book. Lately they’ve migrated to virtual gift cards. They are a little bit more eager to embrace the e-gift world than I am. I still prefer wrapped presents and tearing off paper and ribbons. But it wasn’t them, they weren’t the cause of the box.
Son #2 was.
He bought himself something. Strike that. Two things: A black concert t-shirt and a vinyl record.
Yes, you who remember the days of black discs, I wrote that right. My son bough a vinyl record.
Not too long ago, if I would have referred to my record collection, I would have had to explain what I was talking about:
- Records were the precursor to the CD
- They were bigger, blacker, and scratchier
- We used to keep our collection of records in a milk crate, stolen from the neighborhood store (mine was pink)
- A milk crate was a ….. oh, forget it.
- Let’s just say, records were really big CDs that weren’t as silver
- And Led Zepplin sounded so cool on them
OK, being somewhat of a purist, I was a bit taken back that he got a concert t-shirt without actually attending a concert. But it’s a technicality. He’s going to said band’s concert this month. He’s doing the all day concert thing with a few of his friends. I’m sure he’ll come back a little deafer, a little sunburned, and a lot happy. Son #2 likes the music. In fact, he likes all kinds of music.
“Hey Mom, what’s the name of that song that they always play during war movies?”
“You mean the Jimi Hendrix one?”
“Yeah, he’s the guy with the guitar, right?”
“Yes, yes he is.”
That’s how our music conversations start out. Then we sing in the car to bands like Motley Crue, Van Halen, and Scorpions. We also sing to Green Day and Foo Fighters. I tell him who I saw in concert, who I wanted to see in concert, who’s now doing concerts in their 80’s. He laughs. I’m sure he thinks my 49 years is almost as old as 80.
And tonight I told him the story of my first record player….
We weren’t well off growing up. My dad was the sole bread winner in our large family. There was never enough but somehow we got by. And amazingly my parents bought me an Emerson stereo for my birthday one year. I was 13 or 16, one of those two. All I know is that I had never heard of the brand before. My initial thought was that it was some knock-off, but I didn’t care. I had a stereo of my very own.
Only years later I found out that Emerson was actually a good brand. I can’t imagine what my parents paid for this piece of hi-fi equipment but it was probably more than they had at any one time. And it was perfect. My sisters and I played our albums on that thing constantly. I loved it. It’s been so long ago since I used it last, I can’t even remember what happened to it. Probably left behind on the curb somewhere after a new CD player took its place…
Thirty-plus years later, my son is showing me his first vinyl record. A limited edition with the band’s album cover imprinted on Side A, and the band member faces imprinted on Side B. I look at it, feeling the plastic, remembering the grooves of discs gone by. We share a moment as I talk about the scratches, the hiss, and the needle jumps from my past collection. He talks about the used record store he found in our area and the cool sound of the album playing over the store speakers.
I’m thrilled that he stepped beyond the digital age.
Now all we need is a record player.