Another John Said

A & P was a grocery store chain. My stepfather worked at it, I thought, although he never spoke much about work. It was a well-known chain and abundant around the Pittsburgh suburbs where I lived from four years old until I was fifteen.

When I read John Updike’s short story, “A & P”, in English class in 1972, it struck me how vividly and accurately he’d portrayed the average store and its customers and employees. I had no plans to be a writer then. I just enjoyed reading. I preferred science fiction and adventure until then but then I read Catch 22, Catcher in the Rye, Pornoy’s Complaint, and Herzog, and my interests shifted.

A & P are gone now, only known through literature, entertainment, and memories.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

I enjoyed good mouth organ, harmonica, and French harp playing. My favorites are Little Walter, Charles Musselwhite, Sonny Boy Williamson, Stevie Wonder, and John Popper. When I first heard Culture Club’s “Church of the Poisoned Mind”, I thought that must be Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica. I was wrong. It turned out to be Judd Lander. Since hearing him with Culture Club, I’ve listened for him, and have found him playing with numerous others.

Those guys have a style I enjoy, but I don’t have much knowledge about the players, instrument, or their relative abilities. Like other instruments, styles vary by genre. I like these guys as much because I’ve been exposed to their skills, and remember.

Do you have a favorite on this instrument? Think about it while listening to “The Church of the Poison Mind” (1983).


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