Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SWUUSI Thursday and Friday

On Thursday, we left the resort after breakfast and drove the van into Tulsa. We enjoyed ourselves touring the downtown area and looking at the deco buildings and following Tulsa’s downtown guided walk. After a great lunch at a downtown diner. We then spent most of the afternoon touring the Gilcrease Museum – a must see for those who enjoy Native American artifacts and history, as well as paintings of events and people important to the history of Oklahoma and the American West. The traveling exhibition documented the first diplomatic contact between the British government and the Cherokee Indians – then still residing in Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia. Since much of the activity centered around Williamsburg, VA and London, two areas Mary Lou and I have lived near, we found it especially interesting. Kathy was so taken by the collection of artifacts on the lower level, she brought the rest of us down there to share the trove with us. It was an impressive collection, impressively stored.

Once we had returned to Rainbow Hills, we began preparations for the Thursday night gig. While we were setting up, four members of the Hogwarts group greeted us VERY enthusiastically. It appeared that all of Kathy’s hard work had paid off. Several of the group had, indeed, become Tim and Bob fans. I asked them if any of them had made the Monday concert, and one 12 or 13-year old girl responded, “I was about to come in, but then I saw my grandparents dancing, and I turned around and left.” They weren’t going to leave on this night, however, as they quickly made “seats reserved” signs for themselves, and then spent the hour or so before we performed making suggestions on how we could better promote ourselves and sell more CDs.

As expected, there were not quite as many folks on the Thursday concert. Since this one wasn’t being filmed, however, more of the house lights were up and we could see how much they were enjoying themselves. The evening had two highlights. The first one came when I told the audience about an earlier concert where we had several people “snake dancing” to “Locomotion” – which was the song we were about to perform. The audience took that as a challenge and at least 30 of them joined up in a multi-generational conga line that lasted the entire song. The only drawback to this is that since all four of us were playing, none of us could take a picture of it!

The second highlight occurred, believe it or not, right after I broke a string on my guitar. As Mary Lou and I left the stage to replace the string, Steve broke into “Rocky Raccoon” and Kathy grabbed her bass and started playing along. I was a little stunned to discover later that she didn’t have the tabs for this song with her, and played it all from memory. Kathy definitely deserved the cool bass-player hat that Steve bought for her to perform in. As was true with Monday’s effort, we scheduled as many four-parters, bass-playing songs, and Epiphone songs as we could. Everyone who was there approved.

We ended the concert amid cheers and handshakes and “thank you’s.” We exhorted everyone to come over and buy a CD and a “Take It Outside” bag. And many of them did. All four of us were invited to a party in one of the larger cabins, but Mary Lou and I were wiped out by the time we finished breaking down, and left Steve and Kathy on their own. I don’t know how much they enjoyed the party, but Kathy’s toes were painted a bright color and Steve had a tattoo! Relax, folks, it was a temporary one.

Once Friday morning came around, we were ready to leave for home. We attended the lakeside farewell service, loaded up the van with luggage, musical gear, snacks … and Hillary who would be traveling with us. It was around 9 on Friday evening when we got to Steve and Kathy’s house, and past 10 by the time Mary Lou and I got home.

It had been a remarkable week. The band functioned very professionally while working and had plenty of fun during whatever down time was available to us. Everyone in attendance seemed to approve of what we were doing, and it was certainly nice being able to meet and talk to the folks we had entertained earlier in the week. I don’t know if there’s any group of people anywhere so dedicated to enjoying themselves and sharing the joy with others than are UUs. They were great to us. We hope we did them some good.

Now that we’re back home, we’re maintaining contact with a lot of the folks that we met up there – primarily through Facebook. We’ve heard some nice things from them, and we’ve received a lot of photographs of our concerts. The moment we heard we had been selected for this position, we were excited and sure that we’d have fun. As it turned out, we weren’t wrong. To slightly paraphrase the Hoyt Axton song recorded so many years ago by Three Dog Night, “We’ve never been to heaven, but we’ve been to Oklahoma.”

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