Turning Back Time


'Hi, Sam! Could I get a Turkey and Swiss with mustard on rye, please?'
'Yes. Turkey, yes....do you want Swiss or Muenster?'
'Swiss, please.'
'Ok, then. Mustard or mayo?'
'Mustard, Sam.'
'On rye or on a roll?'
'Rye, please.'

Thus I ordered many, many sandwiches in my college years. Sam (aka Sam the Deli Man) was a tiny, wizened, elderly man, who rolled his r's with such flair that 'on rye or on a roll' came out 'on rrrye or on a rrroll'. Cheerful, chatty, and always nattily attired in a pristine white coat, Sam was a College Hill institution. He liked to ask all his questions, regardless of whether you'd already answered them*. So perhaps he wasn't the most efficient counter man, but there was a certain charm to the process. Efficiency isn't everything.

Efficiency-or the lack thereof- is front and center in my thought process right now, because I just bought a turntable for the store.

I know. Why on earth would I want the trouble of installing and operating a turntable when I can play every tune ever recorded on my Spotify account? Why would I want to buy records, change records, think about records? And the sound quality-all those hisses and pops! My daughter raised those and few dozen other objections, but I don't care. I'm not after efficiency; I want the experience.

I want to play an album-the whole album, not just bits and pieces of it- and remember where I was and how I felt when I first heard this tune or that one. Music is a handy and fairly cheap method of time travel; a Saturday afternoon visit to my favorite record shop yielded up a Roomful of Blues live album recorded at a 1986 concert that I actually attended. Ah, memories.

Wine can function that way, too. Good Zinfandel always reminds me of Thanksgiving dinners. My favorite Sancerre conjures hot summer nights on my back porch. And a certain Champagne will forever be associated with my daughter's birth, because we placed a few drops on her newborn lips and then toasted to the wonder of being parents.

So...a turntable for the store. Because why not combine these two sensory pleasures? A soundtrack for your tasting journey, or maybe a few tastes to complement your auditory travels. Either way, my new project should debut sometime this week. When we get it up and running, stop by and browse our collection. We take requests.

* Sam was a concentration camp survivor, a number visible on his forearm while he sliced meat or wrapped sandwiches. He loved to talk, although never about that.