|As I See It 8-19
Sunday, October 11, 2009
As I was packing up my gear, I was questioning my sense of sanity for committing to such a venture. My list seemed long – amplifier, cords, power supply, effects board, music stand, guitar stands, power strip, electric guitar, electric / acoustic guitar, music sheets, dog cushion, leash, dog, chair in a bag, and four layers of clothing. I wondered to myself why I would say I can perform for four hours as a solo artist especially with an instrument I started learning how to play just seven months prior. My original thought was to perform some of my hip hop and poetry but having jumped into trying to learn the guitar, deflected that idea.
So there I was heading to play this instrument that I am a novice with in a small town I am not familiar with at a farmers’ market. To say I was a little apprehensive would have been an understatement. I had no idea what to expect. I wondered if my sheer presence would be accepted by the people of the community. I also feared that my small musical repertoire would become boring for the people at the farmers’ market at which I was performing. I knew I had three things going for me though. I brought plenty of equipment so I at least looked the part of a performer.
I had my dog with me that I knew would get the “awww, ain’t she cute?” factor in my favor. What woman does not like to see a man and his dog? There are not that many men that are not able to relate to having man’s best friend by his side. And lastly, but in my eyes most importantly, I was counting on the down home, small town sense of hospitality and acceptance, and that these people will be gracious enough to understand that I was new at this and hopefully would not hold me to high expectations.
Mary Sue greeted me with a sunny smile and directed me to where I was supposed to strum. The nine songs I had in front of me seemed to be enough to carry me through this experience. I was pleasantly shocked at the first person that put a dollar in the “Musician Appreciation Basket”. There was a big white basket sitting in a chair that was for the vendors to put some donated wares in. I placed a sign in it that read “Please Give; I need to pay for more lessons”. Then things got interesting. People actually were listening. People were very gracious, I began to receive compliments. More dollars enter the basket, coins clattered together. Then the vendors started putting items into the basket. I had a cornucopia of wonderful goodness: radishes with dirt still on them, two tomatoes, bright red, bigger than softballs, vibrant eggplant, cute little zucchini, slices of cinnamon bread, fresh baked bread, an adorable small jug of apple cider, a muffin, and various peppers.
A man in a wheelchair stopped for a while. He told me how he bought a house in Dimondale 64 years prior for $2000. He lived there for two years, tore that house down and built a brick house on the land. He and his wife, whom he has been married to for just as long still live there. Another man smoked a cigarette and sang a song he wrote about a ‘maybe woman’ that would not commit to some romance. Two young boys showed me what they knew on the guitar with such enthusiasm that it warmed my heart to see young ones excited about playing. I was almost envious of the potential of their future with the instrument. And then Roxy was a big hit with young, old, male and female. She was happy to receive every big of attention she could get. She quietly and patiently lay on the cushion I brought for her observing people as they passed by. Every now and then she would slightly lift her head when another dog began barking at her, however, it seemed done with indifference to their presence.
I was very glad I was able to get outside my comfort zone and follow through with my misguided commitment to being a musical entertainer. It was a beautiful fall day in October, filled with wonderful people and lots of smiles. I am looking forward to doing it again next year.
~Melik melik_2001 @ yahoo.com