A quirky takeaway from our trial-and-error journey toward maturity is that great food and music can push us through our procrastination to meet the dreaded deadlines of adulthood (GenYs and GenZs, take note, you’ll thank me later).
If the inevitability of tax time takes you back to the anxiety of working on your thesis or studying for finals, let’s think outside the box for a moment. What if you could ease the pain of the looming April 15th deadline by creating a comfortable (dare I say, enjoyable?) atmosphere of favorite food and good local Trenton music? Replace the memory of cold pizza warm beer-fueled pre-digital playlist years of all-nighters from your college past (Boomers, you know what I’m talking about!) with a relaxing day of local delights from the Trenton Farmers’ Market and tunes from your favorite apps.
First, circle a date on your refrigerator calendar, or create a calendar notification audio alert pop-up on your desktop when you will ransack your home to hunt down receipts and forms hidden in unmarked boxes in the linen closet, wedged between dusty bookshelves, crumpled and out of reach under the sofa, and stored in unnamed folders on your laptop.
Next, drive or take the #606 bus to the Trenton Farmers’ Market (“voted #1 in Mercer County!”) on Spruce Street, off Princeton Avenue. It’s open Thursday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 9″00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Follow the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and donuts to The Pied Piper Donut and Gourmet Shop for jelly and cream-filled donuts, babka, baklava, and pork roll pierogi (wow!) Pick up chocolate chunk cookies or a key lime pie for an after-dinner dessert.
Go to Pineland Farms for everything you need to make Southwestern Sweet Potato pancakes (try a sample if you’re tempted!), and a jar of raw blueberry honey or blueberry peach jam to take home.
Maybe you’d like to go vegan for the day. The Savory Leaf Cafe has a protein smoothie-of-the-day. Take a “Trenton Burger” home for lunch. Our city’s namesake sandwich is made with your choice of “Impossible Burger” or “Beyond Burger” with a tangy house sauce on a lightly toasted brioche. (Oo, fancy!)
You could also stop at Pulaski Meats for kielbasa or ham, or Hambone Opera BBQ four mouthwatering brisket or juicy pulled pork, or head over to Jasmina’s Nadas for black bean quesadillas, tacos, or their sample empanada platter (what? barbecue chicken, peach cobbler, and Oreo cheesecake?!)
Once you make it back home with all these goodies, it’s time to set the stage with “tax time” music. Pop that chocolate chunk cookie into the microwave for a wonderful baked aroma while you put on some coffee and whip up a tall stack of pancakes to drench in warm blueberry honey. Choose a favorite music app on your phone or laptop to download the unique R&B/jazz/rock/reggae vocal stylings of Trenton’s own Grace Little and the Grace Little Band (https://www.theglbband.com). Listen to her remix of “The Love I Lost” and “Young Hearts Medley”. Go to Apple Music to hear her rockin’ rendition of “Somebody Else’s Guy”, and “Shame” with musical director and bass player, Mike “C”. Catch a video clip on YouTube of Grace and her band performing “Proud Mary” (Tina Turner may be gone now, but her music lives on).
(More than twenty years ago, as showrunner for fundraising entertainment for a Trenton nonprofit for homeless families, I asked a colleague for suggestions on local vocal talent.
“How about Grace Little?”, she suggested. “She may not be available, but you can try…What?!”, my colleague responded to my blank expression. “You’ve never heard of Grace Little?! I know you’re not from Trenton but come on now!”
Sheepishly, I retreated to my computer to discover this “homegrown” award-winning phenomenon, graduate of Trenton High School, winner of the Apollo Theatre talent competition in New York City, and veteran of national and touring companies of “Dreamgirls” and “The Wiz”.
Unfortunately, I was unable to reach Grace Little for our program. I booked several other talented vocalists and choirs, including the Trenton Children’s Chorus.)
Now it’s time to tackle that 1044 form! If you need help doing your taxes, or decide to have someone else do them for you, contact:
VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance) at (609) 896-1912, or email carrie.pabreza@uwgmc.org. Volunteers can prepare your taxes at:
The Salvation Army of Trenton until April 11th, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. at 575 E State Street. Ask about walk-in service.
Boys and Girls Club until April 13th at 1040 Spruce Street until April 13th, Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Ask about walk-in service.
If you are 50 years old or older, and/or low income, contact AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Service at 888-687-2277 or https://taxaide@aarp.org for in-person, drop-off, or online tax prep coaching by IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers.
Sure, tax season can be “taxing”, but it doesn’t have to be. And remember, even though spring break is a fading memory for most of us, cheer up! You just might grab an even better prize after all: a big tax refund!

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