Most of you all probably don’t recognize the name, but this place has been one of those constants in my life, an epicenter of sorts, that extended even beyond family homes lived and lost. It is somewhere I’ve been throughout my childhood and into my adulthood; a place I’ve been a friend and a stranger; all in some no mans’ land on Pico. That place is McCabe’s.
|McCabe’s is a musical instrument store in Santa Monica, California, opened in 1958. We specialize in acoustic and folk instruments: guitars, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers (both hammered and plucked), fiddles, psaltries, bouzoukis, sitars, ouds, ethnic percussion … you get the idea. Also electrics and amps.
|| All significant brands usually in stock. We sell, fix and teach, and have all the stuff that anyone would need to go with, including thousands of books and recordings. It’s a nice, comfortable place to visit and try things out. Come by if you’re in the area — browsers and itinerant musicians welcome.
Tomorrow night many musicians who have participated in the legend that is McCabes will play a 50th Anniversary show at UCLA’s formidable Royce Hall. A Rockridge Life’s own VDP will, at the last minute, join the bill of beautiful and laudable players including the legendary woman Odetta, with whom my mother had the exhilarating experience of meeting this evening. Odetta is a legend in her own right.
If you are in Los Angeles, take advantage of this rare occasion.
Have you ever seen such a beautiful woman?
I grew up in a small one-story craftsman style house in Los Angeles. The garden was L-shaped and wrapped around the house. Outside my bedroom window was a brick patio. Above the brick patio was a large mature persimmon tree. Every year the fruit would ripen, get heavy with juices, and fall to the hard brick patio; Big Persimmon Go Plop! My brother and I would say each time. The fruit would splatter everywhere and its sticky sweetness would attract flies. There was a less that pleasant odor that accompanied the plethora of rotting fruit, too much falling too frequently to keep clear from the patio. My mother would pick hundreds of persimmons each year with our tall fruit picker. The picker had a wire basket at the top with wire fingers that grabbed and broke the fruit off at its stem. We had one that looked like this:
We had a few other vintage style pickers too that are too old to appear on google image searches. My mother would fill dozens of brown grocery bags and try to pass the things off as presents to little avail.
A few years ago I noticed mention of persimmon (especially the Japanese varietal) on some menus and noticed that somehow, along with the slow food movement, persimmons were coming into vogue.
Here are a few I found in the blocks surrounding my craftsman house in Rockridge. Even though I hated them as a child I have a strange fetish for them now–at least seeing them. I still wouldn’t eat them, but they look beautiful ripening on the tree.