“Let’s go to the outdoor band concert tonight, OK?” said Ken this afternoon. “Sounds nice” I replied, feeling a little overwhelmed by the last two weeks of work and other unrelated family upheavels. An hour of relaxing while listening to music was just what I needed. “What time does it start?” I wondered. “Seven o’clock.” said Ken. “At least I’m pretty sure it starts at 7…”
The medium-sized town we live in is about 20 miles northeast of Kansas City. Close enough to city events, and far enough away to actually feel like a small town. It serves as the county seat, thus we have an actual town square which is very quaint. On Saturday mornings there is a farmer’s market and for a few weeks during the beginning of summer there are weekly free community band concerts. We are fortunate to live within a few blocks of the square, so we can walk there if the mood strikes. Tonight we drove, though, as we needed to do some marketing afterward to pick up the dog food I forgot to buy during last Friday’s grocery store task.
We stop for dinner at Cupini’s, an Italian deli. It’s new to the ever-revolving crop of restaurants on the square and since they’ve been in business there for almost a year, it’s probably going to stick around awhile. All of the buildings on our square are large, high-ceilinged places and most have old tin ceilings. Many of the business owners live above their stores in large, airy lofts, which I think would be great if I were a bit younger and didn’t have my menagerie. Last summer, my son and his girlfriend lived in the loft above the custard shop they managed and I was always just a teeny bit jealous that I never had an opportunity to live in such a great place when I was first out on my own.
Our dinner was wonderful. I had a cold tomato, fresh mozerella and basil salad in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a turkey panini with carmelized onions and an artichoke spread. Yum. Ken had a huge chunk of lasagna with a wonderfully thick sauce. Frank Sinatra was playing in the background as we sat at the front window, eating our dinner and watching people walk by.
Afterward we walked down the hill with our chairs, noticing that there seemed to be a rather sparse crowd for a 7:00 show. It didn’t take us long to realize that the concert probably didn’t start until 7:30 and we had about a 45 minute wait ahead of us. I admit to being slightly peeved, but not enough to say anything. Besides, the evening was perfect. I think early summer nights are the best – little to no humidity pressing down on your skin, making you feel like you’re wearing a parka on the surface of the sun. Few mosquitoes munching on your ankles, and just enough of a breeze to keep things fresh. It felt great to sit and digest dinner while people watching: Elderly couples walking in hand in hand with their matching crocheted lawn chairs; families staking out their little areas, with chairs for the grownups and a blanket for the kids to play on; people with dogs; teenagers with their parents, but acting like they don’t know them.
I’m glad I decided to make the best of our wait, because after about 20 minutes, Ken leaned over and said “I like doing things with you. It’s never a hassle, everything’s just so relaxed.”
Have I told you how much I love this man?
The concert was nice and well played. The theme was Big Band music and lots of the tunes were real toe-tappers. And if we Midwesterners were the demonstrative type, there would have been quite a bit of toe tappin’. As it was though, most maintained their stoic, farmer-like selves and refrained from any displays of exhuberance. You could tell they were having a good time, though from the way their mouths turned up at the edges and the way they clapped politely after each number. Of course, I exaggerate slightly. Not much though.
All in all, it was the perfect early summer outing with the man I love a little bit more every day.