Today Henry and I did a toy store crawl, kinda’ like a pub crawl without the puking and shouting profanities at tourists.
We hit up Buttered Noodles, Jamie Two Coats and Once Upon a Child, where I scored a sweet mini drum machine for Henry for FOUR BUCKS! He went crazy with it when we got home! Thank God the thing has really good volume control!
But it was while poking around Buttered Noodles that today’s adventure took place. For those not familiar with Buttered Noodles, it’s a great toy store in Williston with a killer consignment section and place called “Club Noodle”. “Club Noodle” has a little toy kitchen that Henry loves to play with and so that’s where we were went today’s event occurred.
We walked in to find chairs arranged in an arc and the usual “play with me” toys pushed to the sides of the room. Now, I had heard from other moms that there were little sing-a-longs for kids performed here every week and so thought that this must be the reason for the “festival seating”.
Cool, I think, Henry LOVES instruments and singing! He might really like this. So we wait. I have no idea what to expect. Henry plays with the toy kitchen, accidentally bonks another little girl in the head with one of the cabinet doors, learns the importance of saying you’re sorry and I watch as the festival seating begins to fill up. Moms in overstuffed quilted coats and kids with static hat hair begin to make their way into “Club Noodle” and I’m getting a little excited. Whatever this is really draws a crowd, it must be awesome.
The tension in the room is palpable and I hear moms talking to other moms and kids.
“Where is he?”
“I don’t know. He must be running late.” It almost feels like John Lennon is rising from the dead to play one last gig at Buttered Noodles. I can’t wait to see who’s coming.
Then He arrives. Not a typo, that H is meant to be capitalized. He steps in the room and the entire crowd falls quiet. Kids start vibrating on their parent’s laps as if something has been wired to the seat of their pants. I look up to see who this God is and find a grown man in yellow striped pirate pants, a pirate shirt and scarf and an eye patch carrying a guitar case in his hand. He turns to the crowd, which is now yelling in a crazed cacophony and hollers,
“I’m Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate! Who’s ready to jump on my pirate ship and sing?”
Not me. My third eye is going off like crazy. I can’t distance myself from Rockin’ Ron and see him the way these children do at all. I want to sink into the floor and evaporate out of here. Rockin’ Ron and his yellow pants of amazement are not my speed at all.
Henry seems a little taken a back by him, but once the guitar comes out, he begins to watch. He even claps at the end of Rockin’ Ron’s signature song, “I’m the Friendly Pirate”. I look around me and kids are singing along and going nuts, while parents sit and clap with glazed over looks in their eyes. Rockin’ Ron is clearly not their speed either.
I look closely at these parents. I know these parents. These are the people that I used to see at Higher Ground with rum and Cokes jumping around to Gogol Bordello. These are the people that would wait in line to get tickets to go see “The Machine” or “Ween”. But here they sit, at Buttered Noodles watching a grown man in a pirate costume sing about a parrot that wears polyester pants.
In the end, as usual with Henry, he got bored and wanted to walk around the store some more, so we jumped off of the Friendly Pirate’s plank and swam away. But I thought as I was leaving the throng that Rockin’ Ron had created, that it was pretty cool.
It’s pretty cool that these parents, who, I’m sure would rather be anywhere else than listening to this, were there. They were biting the bullet and doing something that wasn’t at all in their wheelhouse just to see their kids sing and dance and get their first crack at having a music God to idolize. Although Rockin’ Rod the Friendly Pirate didn’t turn out to be Henry’s, it got me excited to see who his will be. Who will be on the first band shirt he buys with his own money? What group will he ask me to get tickets for? What albums will I hear blasting from his room 24/7 when he’s a teenager? Who will inspire him?
Although we chose not to set sail with you today Friendly Pirate, thank you for being there for the kids that love you and for giving their parents a chance to see the first glimpses of what hopefully will be a deep connection to the musical world for their children.