A man was walking home alone late one foggy night, when behind him he hears:
Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog h e makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.
Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him
He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.
However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping
…on his heels, the terrified man runs.
Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.
With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.
Bumping and clapping toward him.
The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup!
Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket…
(hopefully you’re ready for this!!!)
The coffin stops.
Happpppppppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Day After Halloweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!
We had a big shin-dig here at the house last night, our annual Halloween Party. Bobbing for apples (if you get a green one out of the sea of red, extra bonus prize!),
ring toss, prizes for Scariest, Funniest, Prettiest and Adult (Parent) Costumes…then we eat fingers (weiners cut in half with pimento red fingernails) and eyeballs (powdered donuts with a gummy lifesaver and a chocolate chip, red gooey icing for the bloodshot effect) and drink bloody drinks (strawberry soda with vanilla ice cream and a straw)…..next: everyone in big groups to go trick or treating.
This year’s costumes included: a dragon man, a seventies Afro-topped girl, a Swiss miss, many witches, a devil, a ladybug, a retired Chippendale dancer, pirates,
a bunch of tired parents who came in their regular clothes, a dyslexic ex-nun (me), and a kid in a white bathrobe. Not sure what he was supposed to be, but he looked very relaxed.
Since I wrote last:
After Odessa, I came home that Thursday and had dinner with my husband and two amazing friends, Neil and Teresa. Neil is part of Stingray (he designed the “Spiritual Appliances” booklet), and Teresa was the DJ for her radio program “Femme FM” on KUT. She was ungraciously let go after 15 years, two days before her last show…so she had to scramble to create a goodbye show. I’m not sure why anyone would do such a thing to such a thoroughly dedicated woman, but perhaps KUT is losing
their grasp on what makes KUT special…but I have a feeling that KUT is moving towards talk radio, and at some point, this discussion will be completely moot. We will be losing the last bastion of real, local radio in Austin, TX, where artists could come in and perform for an entire hour (they have also cut back John Aielli’s hours on “Eclecticos”, from 9-1 to 9 to 12). I saw this happen with KERA in Dallas…music becomes a distant relative and only plays at odd hours, while the talk gets louder and louder….Sigh.
But, anyway, the dinner was tremendous, and so fulfilling to have conversation with old friends who can talk politics to design to movies to you name it. You know what I mean. And, by the way, Neil is a fantastic chef, and made a yummy vegetarian meal, complete with homemade cheesecake for a closer. Mmmm…..with blueberries
Friday morning, got up at 4:30 am, got dressed, popped all my stuff in the car, and headed to the airport, got off in Dallas, got to the rental car, drove to Allen, TX and played a 9:30 am show for 350 four and five year olds in a high school theatre. After hugs and kisses and high-fives, back in the car, back to Dallas, back on the plane, back to Austin.
Caught up on some work and home, and then time to change into clothes for my gig with David Wilcox at the Cactus Cafe. Kristin, David and I ate at Madam Maams…I had my favorite: Tom Yom Kai. Gosh, I sure do love that soup.
Then Griff, who runs the Cactus, showed us the new “green room”, down in the belly of UT, directly next to the stage under ground. Lots of pipes painted mustard yellow, a sad looking mirror, a table with bottled waters and four chairs. David immediately went into the dark crevices to see how far back he could meander, and Kristin went up to see friends. I laid down on an old piano bench and shut my eyes, listening to the hustle and bustle of excited folks waiting to get in.
That show was FUN. I told everyone that David and I had grown up down the street from one another in Dekalb, Illinois, and he used to babysit my sister and me.
And he would make us snacks with Spam, and I had often thought that, perhaps, he was a Spamaholic. When David got on stage later, he busted me for my big fat story
and we all had a good laugh.
Saturday: Flew in to Tulsa to perform at a benefit for Clarehouse, a 10 bedroom home for people who are dying. The home is very inviting, very real and warm, and I was given a walk through of the kitchens and rooms, several which were occupied. One of the guests I saw was looking very near the end of his life; I was informed that he had passed on several hours later. He was surrounded by friends, but his mother had just left and was called back…
The event itself was lovely. I would guess about 400 in attendance, and there was a silent auction, and my friend, Spike (Mike Easterling) had come up from Santa Fe, so I was really happy to see him. His sister is the founder of Clarehouse, so I sat at their table, and met members of the Easterling family, and that was a blessing in itself.
As I was out in the foyer, returning from a vocal warm-up in the bathroom, a group of 10 young boys came running at me. They were excited and bouncy and talking all at once about my guitar and they had a band and who knows what else but, suddenly, they burst into “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and they were doing these silly dance moves and I had to laugh.
Then, of course, I had an idea.
I asked them to calm down and told them about Clarehouse, and how there was an event going on in the ballroom RIGHT THERE, and would they like to go up on the stage with me and sing a song….to which their eyeballs nearly popped out of their mop-topped heads. I told them they had to be respectful, and they had to wait until I gave them a signal…and they would know what the signal was….and they were trying their hardest not to explode with joy, saying, “yes yes yes!” and itching to jump up and down.
Kelley, the founder, came out to tell me it was time for my performance, and she looked beautiful in her sparkling autumn hues, and I could see a nervous look in her eyes as she realized I was in cahoots with these unknown boys….she asked if everything was ok, and I said, “Oh, yes…don’t worry…this will be sweet…I promise…”
and the boys followed right behind me, a row of little ducks, quiet and calm, and I led them past the silent auction tables, alongside the diners waiting to see what was about to happen on the stage…
I had the boys sit by the backstage curtain, right there in a group next to the stairs, and I walked up to the microphone and my voice was loud, now, on the speakers.
I spoke softly. I spoke of love and Tristan (a two day old boy who had died at Clarehouse in his parents arms) and the journey of life and the transition of death, and I sang “It’s Alright” a capella…the mood was still and calm and my voice caught on one of the words…I was wanting to share so much of the meaning of love through my simple notes….
As the applause was fading, I explained to the audience that my band’s bus broke down somewhere outside of Texas, but not to fear…I had 10 of my cousins in the vacinity, and they had showed up to help me sing the next song. UP came the boys, ALL around me, a huddle of wiggly, giggly, trying to be serious boys. I moved to the side of the stage and started the reggae beat/chords on my guitar, and they began “Ah-weem-ma-wop-ah-weem-ah-wop…” with two of the boys moving forward to
sing, “In the jungle…the quiet jungle…” and I had a huge smile, I couldn’t help it. They were adorable! The audience was laughing as I broke into “Ah-weeeeeeee-
eeeeeee-ah-….” over the dancing choir of kids, and then I said, “NOW!” and they all bowed at the same time, began filing off the stage, and sauntered through the audience, out the open doors, into the hotel. Gone. As fast as they were there next to me, they were gone. As they were filing out, I had said, on mic, “To be honest, I have no idea who those boys were, except that they are on a soccer team from Missouri and staying in this hotel. I just met them out in the hall!” and we were all laughing, the boys waving as they walked out.
The rest of the concert was joy filled, and on “Simply”, I asked couples up to dance, which many did, and I love to see a dance floor fill up with connection, with grace,
with smiles, with hearts touching.
After the event, Spike, Kelley, Brian and Penny and I went to the bar. I had a frozen strawberry margarita with whip creme and a cherry on top! Spike kept asking me how I liked my sundae.
Next morning: Riding down the elevator with a kid, when he says, “Hey! You’re Sara Hickman!” and I say, “Hey! You’re one of the boys!” and, as if by magic, we reach the lobby floor, the doors open, and there are MORE of the boys and we are all animated and re-hashing the spectacle of the night before. The boys ask me if I have a MySpace and I say “yep” and so I suspect I will have some interesting mail soon!
Kelley and Spike arrive to take me to breakfast at Kelley’s house. A brick cottage with charm and effortless grace inside. Breakfast is biscuits and gravy, eggs and donuts, coffee and juice, bacon and hashbrowns, hanging around the kitchen table or the dining table. Spike and Kelley’s parents are there, and they are terrific. Lots of laughter
and, afterwards, we all go outside for photos and find a big spider who is taking apart her web, methodically gathering all the loose silk and creating a big ball with her spindly legs. After photos, out in the front street where I, finally!, learn how to throw a football. Thanks, Spike! That was relaxing, just throwing the ball around.
Back to the airport, and I am holding Spike’s hand, he in the back seat, me in the front; my old friend, my dear friend from ages past, years of letters back and forth, and cow-tipping and everything Oklahoma City, where we first met. The Blue Door, Otis and Keri and the Yippie-Ay-Yo Cafe and late nights and time standing still when my watch broke one night at an aftershow party…There is nothing like a friend where nothing needs to be said. But if only more time could be spent together, instead of these once in a while gatherings, usually, no always, around my coming to town to perform. I can’t complain…the music takes me on all these adventures, helps me connect with and see my friends, even if only for a short while…I’ll take these moments, these God-sends.
A long hug goodbye to each, thank yous and then they are driving away, and I am talking with a skycap, and into the Tulsa airport I go, to read another Kay Scarpetta mystery and wait for the big bird to take me home. Today, I fly home early, I changed the flight: I am missing my family and want to be in the house with them.