The Rest of the Story

After Friday night’s show at the Blue Heron, a lovely art gallery/theatre setting full of artistic folks dancing to “Simply” and laughing/crying with me through story and song, I bid adieu to my lovely hosts, Janice and Matthew, packed up my bags, and was informed I needed to “gun it” if I wanted to make it to the ferry in time (thank you to the circus man, Bill or David, whichever you want to call him.)

I maneuvered the snakey roads in the dark night…whew!! I made it to the ferry just as they were loading, where I then asked several nice ladies in yellow slickers many times when to get off…it was late and it is a queasy, odd feeling to be sitting in your car on a gianormous boat that is slowly, dizzily turning and rocking on consistenet undulating waves. All I could think was I didn’t feel like going down on a ferry…the water looked really cold and how does one get out of your car and where do you run to if a ferry starts to sink? All the creaking, groaning metal, the cars rolling and slowly slamming into each other, people screaming, the confusion of night and the lonliness of black water ready to take you down. Ooh…shudder! So I called folks on the phone and had nice chats on the phone waiting to reach the shores of Seattle.

I never realized how much of my life I have spent traveling alone until a few years ago. I always have fun engaging with strangers and children and making new friends out there in the world, but…it is odd to think of how vulnerable this life is (which it is, anyway, no matter where we are… but being out here traveling a lot makes me recognize what an enormous planet this is, and perhaps it is part of aging, but I am feeling more and more humility all the time about the fact I get to exist at all!)

Drove an hour to Craig Lund’s house, got to bed around 1:00 am (3 Texas time)

Got up and ate the most delicious oatmeal made by Craig that had brown sugar, cream and blackberries. Oh, my!

Drove over to meet up with Jim Dunlap, a friend of the first degree and highest order, who introduced me to Shawn Hlookoff, and we hopped in his car to drive to the radio station. It was an NPR station at the end of their fund drive. Wish I’d been there during it…I love to help raise money! Met Ginger, the orange ball of fuzzy fur chow, and Candy, Paul George, Larry and Charles, all wonderful people. Went on the air, Shawn and I talked, I played two songs and then a children’s song (“iolana”….Jim came bouncing in with the cue cards…all good fun)

Went to lunch at the Broadway Grill, where Jim used to go with Peg of “Northern Exposure” back when Jim was the accountant on that show. It was yummy. I had a chopped salad and black bean soup, although half-way through my meal the black bean soup had no black beans because it was really brocolli-chicken soup.

Walked around and bought my family some gifts at Urban Outfitters, Shawn wasn’t feeling very good, so we popped in a drugstore and got him something for his stomach. Then we went to the performance hall so we could get set up for my children’s show, but there were about 70 people in the hall learning the Lindy. That was cool, to see such a large group of people learning dance moves.

We decided to go upstairs. The building must have been a schoolhouse in the 1800s…big red brick full of classrooms and stairs. Jim, Shawn and I settled into some tiny pre-school chairs at a mini-table bathed in afternoon light from picture windows, and played some games…Truth or Dare
(which was lame and goofy cuz no one wanted to make dares) and then a game of Jim giving us subject ideas and Shawn and I making up songs on the spot. I made up a song about a girl named Stephanie, a waitress at a diner, that my song’s narrator was in love with but couldn’t announce so because she was afraid to be gay…all over an order of onion rings (“onion rings” being my word to write a song around)

Finally, the class cleared out below, we set up for soundcheck, kids and families started arriving, we had a show. We sang, we laughed, we told stories. I had several kids, before the show, tell me they wanted to come up and join me with their favorite songs, so I made a special section in the middle of the show and brought them up, one at a time. First was Desi Rae, five year old little boy, who announced on the mic that he only got called “Desi Rae” when he was in trouble, so I asked him what he would prefer to be called. He was a little stuck on that question, so we chose a super pal name:
Lizard Wizzie. Then he sang “Cantaloupe”, much to my amazement, and charmed everyone with his sensibilities and adorableness.

Up next was Greer, and she had long, straight brown hair and a sweet smile. She wanted to do “I Like My Boots”, so we sang that on the microphone while everyone kept time clapping. That was fun, cuz I never hardly perform that song. Most of all, though, it was an honor to have kids know my songs and sing them. That blew my mind! Especially someplace so far away from Austin….

So, it was a big lovefest, lots of hugs and laughter. I gave out the coloring pages I made for the kids and shared funny stories with parents.

Then, Shawn brought in his keyboard and did a soundcheck and I followed with a soundcheck, at which I finally admitted I was getting tired and could we stop. It was about 6 by then, and we were going to run and get some dinner, got lost on our journey, found a little place to eat at 6:30 called Oliver Twist, a sort of tapas bar with American versions of fun snacks (mini-grilled cheese sandwich with cappucino tomato basil soup), ate quick, back in the car, get to the gig, Shawn goes on at 7:30 and sang his lovely pop songs with a voice that is rich and controlled and beautiful. He’s funny and nice and
we had a wonderful day pal-ing around, the three of us. I suspect the next time you hear his name, it won’t be through me but through the airwaves and on tv!

Then I played for two hours, and thank you to Shawna for the prayer in the bathroom and the homemade double chocolate macadamia nut cookies and to Michael for video taping both shows, which I never think to do…thank you to Craig Lund for bringing me up here in the first place. He saw me last summer at a house concert here in Seattle and promised to bring me back up, and he did. If he hadn’t have kept his word, I would not have had the pleasure of meeting Elaine, Pete and Shawn, and so the unfolding of life is sometimes contingent on others and their visions being followed through.

The green of Seattle makes my eyes hungry for more. It calms me, to drink in all the beauty of the trees, the hills, the mass of colorful, and unusual flowers everywhere. Craig is up now, I am on his computer, and he slept til 10. I was up at 8 am, writing letters to send home, and now he is in the kitchen, creating more of that fantabulous oatmeal, and I am thinking life is so harmonious, so exquisite, and the wonder of it all…this being here, now, imperfections in my history and heart and perfections, too, all jumbled together make me want to laugh out loud, for no reason other than wow!
What a ride.

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