Serendipity is the act of accidentally finding something wonderful. Not too long ago, I found myself with a mixed group of people wandering the streets of Kansas City on a dark, cold autumn night. I have to admit that I did not know much about Kansas City and what little I knew was gleaned from travel books just days before I arrived. I heard they had a Jazz Museum but was disappointed to learn that my group’s itinerary did not enable us to visit the museum. Our group had one night on the town and I was determined to make it a musical one.
The problem was that none of us knew where to go. As we walked, though, we came across an establishment called Jardines. We went in hoping for dinner and music but the place was packed and the waitress told us it was standing room only or an hour wait for a table. The rest of the group did not want to wait and we all left.
After further aimless wanderings and differing opinions and suggestions, I told the group, I wanted to go back to the Jardines and take my chance with the waiting instead of wandering blindly. Only Tracy said she wanted to do the same and so we left the group on the sidewalk still debating their options.
We scurried back to the Jardines and to our surprise, the waitress told us straight off that there was a table for two available for dinner but warned it was a bit loud as it was actually next to the stage and by the loudspeakers. We took it and the position could not be better. These were front row seats. When the guest singer took her seat and started singing, she was practically spitting in our food. It was difficult to hold a conversation except during the interludes but it did not matter as we were here for the music.
They announced that Ms. Ida McBeth was taking the stage. I had no idea who she was at that time but she, her music and the Jardines would be my serendipitous discovery of the trip. She amazed us both with her rich vocals and her range of music genres including jazz, blues, pops, show tunes, R & B and even gospel. We did not at all mind her spitting in our food. Close up we could enjoy the emotions and expressions that lit up her face as she sang. During the intermissions was when the locals, told me that they were very proud of their Ida and many felt she was the best singer in town.
I had a chance to talk to Ms. McBeth, take her photo, and get a signed autographed copy (“Wish You Well! Ida”) of her CD “Special Requests” in which I just love her version of “I can’t make you love me” The Jardines was a warm and friendly place too. The fact that I cannot remember the food merely shows how enraptured I was with the place, people and the music. From now on, Kansas City is music city for me and the lucky place where I got to learn about the wonderful Ida McBeth. The locals say, “Come prepared to be Ida-lized”.