Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Open Mic Night Musician and .... Rocks

Before I went away, I asked Jess if there was anything she wanted me to bring her back from the "super desert."

"Rocks," she answered. Jess wanted rocks. Sure. I'll bring you rocks.

Everywhere I went, the cool road up to Mount Lemmon, the Hill with the Cross at the San Xavier Mission, side of the road overlook as we adventured on Road 42 to Portal, City of Rocks... everywhere. I picked her up some rocks.

Along the way, there were plenty of opportunities to buy shiny polished rocks - bags of them for $10, or so. But I figured those were not nearly as authentic or personal.

On the last night of the trip when we went out to dinner, there was an open mic taking place in the joint. There was a guy who played guitar and sang, I didn't recognize a single song he sang, nor could I understand the words because the sound system was just no good.

Then, there was this guy. Thin, lank, tall, wearing a fur hat of some sort. He played guitar and banjo. He played a piece of hard-sided luggage with a drum kick pedal facing backwards with his right foot. With his left foot, he had a boot with some tambourine disks on it. And he had a harmonica holder with a kazoo in it.

The songs he sang were kind of 1800s folk style from the west. But he threw in a Charles Manson cover song.

A girl sang with him on some of the songs. She really wasn't that great, but ... he kind of was.  They put on a decent show. At least I could understand words when he sang, unlike the other guy earlier.

It got to be the end of the show, he came out onto the floor and sang a song that required stomping and hand clapping. The audience was enthusiastic and adoring. He must be a local guy. And these are his people.

I felt like I didn't belong there, as much  as I kind of enjoyed the overall presentation, this was kind of alien to me. Even as someone who does enjoy folk music. At the end, as Doug was waiting outside for me, I went over to put a 5 dollar bill into his tip vase, he turned around and smiled at me.

"You were really great," I told him. "That was some of the best luggage drumming I've heard in many years." Not a lie.

He beamed at me and said thanks, and then turned around and picked up a white box off the stage.

"Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Have some rocks!"

And in the box, were a ton of those polished, perfect, multi-colored rocks that I'd passed on buying during the whole trip.

How funny is that.

"My daughter asked me to bring her rocks from the desert!" I told him, happily. "Can I take more than one?"

"Take as many as you need!" he smiled. I grabbed a big handful and pulled the bottom of my shirt up a bit to pouch and filled it with the rocks.

I came outside, and Doug just looked at me with the "what did you do this time?" kind of expression.

"I got Jess some rocks," I told him, and lifted one up and showed it to him.

"You got some rocks alright," he replied.


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