It's hard to believe I wrote Kroger Karaoke 15 years ago. There are some changes, updates if you will. First, my oldest daughter now has a bachelor's in Piano performance, who'd a thought. Next, she has broodened my love of music to include country and even opera. But the biggest thing probably came not long after we moved to the northwest from Georgia some 12 years ago.
I went to my new favorite grocery store, Fred Meyer, and there he was in the snack isle singing his heart out. He was not singing to the piped in music, no, he was singing hymns and he sounded pretty good.
I can't tell you how good it made me feel. Just a little less homesick for Georgia, a little refreshed. It made the world a little smaller. I thank God that there are people everywhere who are not afraid to praise God and share His love.
I love music. I thought everyone did, but I guess there are varying degrees of affection. Only some of us have a true passion for music. I know there are varying degrees of skill involved with us ‘lovers of music.’ I have a mediocre voice and can pick out songs on the piano with one finger. I don’t love music any less because I lack skill. There is an employee at Kroger who shares my passion for music.
The mention of grocery store music brings back memories of much younger days. I was a child and what I heard at the grocery store was old people’s music. Now I am older and I like much of that piped in music. It’s James Taylor, John Denver, Cat Stevens, lots of my old favorites. No more Guy Lombardo. Now my music is old people’s music. I am getting old. I do like a variety of music, everything from classical to jazz to pop. However, I have no passion for country, heavy metal or opera.
Well, as I have hummed my way up and down the isles of Kroger listening to old favorites, I’ve passed my fellow ‘lover of music’ on more that one occasion. He’s busy stocking the shelves with Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms while belting out those old tunes at the top of his voice. He has a mediocre voice, too, more volume than me, nonetheless.
One day he sang a whole song one phrase ahead of the music. I think it was I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Or maybe a Beach Boys song, I really can’t remember. Anyway, he knew it well, word for word, one line ahead of the piped in musicians. You know you just can’t get good entertainment like that at all the grocery stores.
In fact, I walked into Piggly Wiggly the other day and saw what could possibly been my music lover’s brother. They looked that much alike to me. And he wasn’t humming. He wasn’t even smiling.
His brother always smiles. He may not sing well, but he smiles! That may be the essence of what I like most about music. The pleasure it brings. From a smile on a grocery worker’s face, to a giggle from me, to that joy that comes from praising God through song. Music is the most natural way to worship our Lord. We can praise Him in church, in the car and even in Kroger.
February 16, 1995