A couple of weeks ago, my favorite diner had a fire. It was pretty badly damaged and will have to be gutted and reconstructed. Luckily, my wife and I ate there a few days before, but it seems that ever since, I've had at least four instances of, "Man, I really want to go to the Corner Grill tonight." And ,of course, that's something I can't now do. Sometimes, that's just how life is.
One of the bartenders at my favorite bar loves my favorite diner as much as do I, so by the end of the week of the fire, she had already started planning a benefit show for the diner's employees. I contacted her as soon as I heard and volunteered my services. As much as I miss their food, I also miss the people. Everyone who works at the Grill is awesome. They made my daughter her first hamburger and her first pancake...and most of the times we go, she gets either a chocolate chip smiley face on her pancake, or the cook makes the pancake into a special design (several past favorites have included pancake as cat and pancake as snowman). My daughter has a special relationship with their evening guy, Steve (aka Kilt guy), and they banter regularly. So of course I wanted to help these people. That is how life should work...we should at least take care of our own.
So I was scheduled to play the benefit, which was great. I don't have the next generation of my band ready yet, so I was playing as an acoustic act...just me, six strings, and a kazoo. Of course, I get scheduled to go right after a really heavy, grungy area band. Furthermore, I couldn't get anyone to play with me (my trombonist couldn't get off work), so I'd be facing a crowd of people who just had their ears blasted, and I'd be doing so alone. Further furthermore, no one I knew was able to come and support me. I try to be optimistic (really, I do), but I had grandiose visions of the room clearing before I got to the first chorus of the first song...because sometimes, that's just how life goes.
So after the very cool Casket Company plays and breaks down their massive amplifiers, I mount the stage with acoustic and kazoo. I start playing, and rather than fleeing, most of the crowd stays. I get applause. I get "woos." My Miley Cyrus cover gets a good wave of claps...and in general, it was one of the best received solo performances I've done. After I get off the stage, a few people go out of their way to thank me and to tell me they liked my stuff. That's how my life goes when get really, really lucky.
After my set, I got a chance to hang out with the very cool Dick Pretzel, who was MCing the event. Dick is a stand-up comedian who's been a fan of my music from several bands, and it was great to see a friendly face. I talked to a few of the Corner Grill staff and owner. I had some magnificent vegetarian gumbo. I heard some great tunes. I got to talk to the amazing Justin Payne and hear his set. Sometimes, life can just be good.
While I loved being out, I was beginning to miss my family...so I decided to head home. Only problem was that my car had been towed. It was parked in the same lot I'd been using throughout the last six years of playing at the bar. Apparently someone different than the bar now owns the back 30 feet of the lot, and they just decided to start towing people. So I had to get a ride and pay $100 dollars to get my own car back. Sometimes, that's just how life is.