New album from Lakesigns, out in a week! Follow the link to stream two new tracks and pre-order your copy now:
Pandarosa Records Christmas Showcase, Friday the 21st at Mokah Coffee Bar - Pandarosa Christmas Showcase
An engagement story from John Paul Thompson, owner of Pandarosa Records.
On the morning of our anniversary, I woke up to rain. I had been constantly checking the weather during the days leading up to August 20th - a year-and-a-half after my first date with Corrie Andrews - finding that it was supposed to be partly cloudy but dry, an inaccuracy that put me in a waking state of panic that morning. I made the decision to skip work and stay home, to develop Plan B and to find some calm.
In an attempt to mask my intentions, I had casually offered Corrie several locations for our anniversary date a week earlier; the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Canal Street Drawbridge, or a walk through Lakeview to find the empty storefront in which we had placed a note above the drop-ceiling after a date a few months into our relationship. All of these places were significant to us. She chose the Canal Street Drawbridge, since it would be easier for me, coming from Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago - she is very thoughtful. The bridge, spanning the south fork of the Chicago River, is a vertical-lift drawbridge that services local and regional heavy rail. On top is a machine house, gray and rusty tin sheathing a sort of cottage structure. We should live there, she declared from the banks of the river in Ping Tom Park on September 11th of 2011. It put a smile on my face to consider that we might have a life together.
After laundry and a nap, I gathered provisions: a thin blue blanket, a grey wool cardigan, a purple water bottle, magenta chopsticks, and two plums, all packed into a black traveling-sales sample trunk, with the ring. I had decided on an outfit earlier that day, and proceeded to put on black jeans, a dark blue cotton pearl-snap, and Red Wing dress boots. I walked out the door and got on the Blue Line heading southeast, toward downtown. It had stopped raining
I got off at Monroe and walked up onto Madison at Dearborn, just east of the Chase Tower. I found a sushi bar and ordered a roll of crab, tuna, avocado, a roll of smoked salmon, a roll of yellowfin and scallions, and a roll of plain tuna. I asked the maître d’ if I could have one of their flowers. He laughed and declined. I found a flower store across from where I would meet Corrie. I didn’t have anything in mind, so when the woman behind the counter asked, I blurted out, “Do you have any succulents?” Corrie at least likes those, I thought. The clerk said no but pointed me toward some potted plants that looked close enough for me, with red flowers shooting up out of waxy thick leaves of yellow-green. I bought the plant, walked across the street, straightened my hair and my shirt collar in the glass of a storefront window, and sat to wait for her arrival.
She walked down from the Adams “L” minutes later. She wore a dark green and black dress under a thin dark grey cardigan, with lacey black stockings and light brown canvas hi-tops. We kissed on the spot where we had first kissed on March 10th, 2011. I gave her the flowering plant and she asked about the trunk. Just some stuff, I told her. I took her hand and we walked through the Loop toward the cut of the river as it heads toward the lake. The train drowned out our conversation so we crossed on Madison over to Michigan. We talked about our day, about an old man’s comment on her stockings, and I tried very hard to not come off strained or unnatural. As we crossed the river, we pointed to places where we had been, together and apart. Remember the time… That’s where I… We walked around the Wrigley Building and back against the river just as our Water Taxi arrived. We boarded and sat at the stern, watching the boat pivot in front of us as we cut down the river. We talked about the places and buildings we still wanted to explore. We had to get off at Madison in the West Loop, across from the Lyric Opera House, and wait for the next boat through to Chinatown. We nearly missed the smaller boat as it arrived, but boarded just in time— the last run of the night. I sat in the bow as Corrie took pictures of the rusty bridges and river bank that we passed.
We arrived at Ping Tom Park at sunset and I walked her over to a spot that I had scouted out the week before. I opened up the trunk, revealing the sushi, the plums nestled in plastic glasses, the blue picnic blanket, and the grey cardigan. The ring was tucked away in its pocket. I had put it there because I didn’t want it simply sitting out, but I also knew that she might get cold and need the cardigan - that’s why I brought the cardigan after all - and it might work out that I might give it to her that way. We laid out the blanket, set out the sushi, and said a prayer as we began dinner in the shadow of our house on top of the bridge.
She told me she was chilly, and would take the cardigan after all. My stomach lurched as I politely got up to retrieve it. I gave it to her, careful to make sure the ring box didn’t tumble out, down the slightly sloping bank, into the river. She put on the cardigan and mentioned immediately that something was in the pocket. I nodded, managing a “Yup”, barely able to speak. She pulled out the box and opened it as I asked, “Will you marry me?”, my voice husky and unnatural with gravity and care. She neatly tossed the box to the side and said, “Yes”, as I approached her for a kiss and an embrace. I double checked, and she said yes again. I took the ring from the box on the ground and placed it on her finger— a good fit. She was quiet with happiness and I was anxious and inquisitive with happiness, so we had an awkward few minutes as we stabilized our emotions. We returned to our dinner, watching trains and ships and kayaks pass by. We grinned and grinned. I got the hiccups. We finished the plums and the sushi. We listened to the slaps of fish jumping and to the scuttling of an unknown animal around the grass under the retaining wall. Finally we decided to leave, to get some coffee and dessert in Chinatown before getting on the Red Line. We gathered our things, packing them all back in the black trunk. We were walking away from our house above the river just as it started to rain.
Front page of the D Magazine events page. What else would you rather be doing in Dallas on a Saturday night?
Jonny the Wham, at the showcase this Saturday!
Embrace a Train, at the showcase this Saturday, August 11th!
Jonny the Wham; pre-order the new single at the Showcase