“I believe I have found my audience,” I said.
“Oh, you mean hippies?!?” replied a guy in the crowd.
I was playing Brewer’s Union Local 180, a pub in Oakridge, OR (about 40 miles south and east of Eugene). Pony and I drove the wet, rainy highway (it is Oregon) through beautiful, incredibly green forest, alongside the Willamette River (which is a right fine river at that; wide, fairly deep, and full and rushing with water from all the rain). On the drive to Oakridge, looking at the river and through the rain-spattered windshield, I couldn’t help think of some of the drought-stricken territory we had traveled through: California, Arizona, and even Colorado to a fair extent. You could say that nature has its own form of income inequality, exacerbated by recent climate change.
The Brewers Local 180 is a wonderful, friendly pub, and Ted (the owner) and Patty and Judy and Steve and all the folks working there do a helluva job to make you feel welcome and at home. Ted apologized for what he described as something of a slow night (and blamed the weather for discouraging a lot of folks from coming out), but there were still a fair number of people there, and they were enjoying my show, every song and story of it.
There was a family from Bend, OR, sort of passing through: Dad, Mom, and daughter, Ashley (somewhere in the 10-12 year age range, I am estimating). Ashley is one of my newest and best fans. She bought all five CD’s and had me sign one of them. I encouraged her to check out these blogs, to keep track of how our travels go. Ashley’s Mom told us that Ashley thought it was one of the most fun nights she’d ever known. I am flattered and pleased.
At the end of the night, Ted treated me to a pint of porter (needless to say, he brews all his own beers). It was straight from the cask and as fine a porter as anything I’ve tasted anywhere. All in all, it was one of those really magical nights. My hands and voice were in fine shape, and I had a fantastic time. It’s one of those nights that just reminds me how lucky I am to do this thing that I love, and to share it with a welcoming audience. Pure. Gold.
The next day (Saturday), I played a set for the Eugene Saturday Market. It is a farmers market, with much more besides; a large food court (with a very diverse offering of Asian, Afghani, Mexican, traditional American and more), and all manner of jewelry, games, gifts, and notions of all sorts. We had a fine time wandering about after my set, and I purchased a small bonsai to add to our household (the trick will be protecting it from curious kitties).
“The West Coast is turning out to be a very welcoming place,” I remarked. Pony just smiled one of those “I-told-you-so” grins.