Day 2: Roller Coaster, Piano Lessons, Wichita.

I woke up in a Walmart parking lot. That’s not something you get to say everyday. I walked in and bought a juice and wandered for a bit under the eerie fluorescent lighting. Then I made my way back to Our Lady and got out my stove and french press. I was going to make oatmeal too only to realize I didn’t have a spoon. I thought about going back in for one and then figured I’d rather get on the road. So I drank my coffee, ate some apples, moved guitars out of the front seat and put them back on the bed and I was off.

Vanagons have notoriously small wheels. Larger wheels are a common upgrade. Among other things they add stability. Driving through Kansas I could see why someone might fork over a thousand bucks for this upgrade. I had both hands on the wheel at all times. No knee driving while I poured myself another cup of coffee. You know how at the end of a roller coaster ride you rattle up to the platform and the cars lurch to a stop and your head is stilling bobbling from the last hard turn? That’s what if felt like pulling into rest stops. It was a bouncy ride.

I made it to Wichita in time for a late lunch with my contacts there – The Michelsons. I’ve known Lowell and Tera since ’97. They’re in my top 5 cool couples. Seriously. They’re great, joyful, encouraging, fun, awesome… all that stuff. Of course I don’t know them super well, so maybe once you get to know them they’re jerks.

But I don’t think that’s possible.

As if that wasn’t enough my friend Cathy Pino was in town too. Cathy is, among other things, a great musician and songwriter. (If you’ve been to a Lutheran camp in the last 10 years I’m guessing you know her song, “You Are The Light of the World.”) Cathy lives in the Twin Cities also but we only see each other at mutual friend gatherings. In this case the mutual friends were the Michelsons. In Wichita. Hey, whatever it takes to hang out with the cool kids!

The afternoon was filled with great food, fun hanging out, and a dinner of deep fried pickles and green beans. (Don’t knock it till you try it.)

Lowell is a pastor and one of the folks in the congregation hosts house concerts. That’s where I fit in. Lowell and Cathy had prior engagements with a Glocal Mission event but Tera and their 3 kids came along to the House concert. At dinner I discovered that their oldest son and I were both taking piano lessons and we were both using the same book – he’s actually ahead of me. (Hey, I’m only 3 lessons into this, gimme a break!) The home that was hosting had a beautiful grand piano so before the concert we compared notes. I had my books with me and the Michelson kids went to town as my opening act.  Firefly, Young Hunter, Mexican Jumping Beans… They played all the hits! And better than me!

The concert continued with me and instruments I can actually play. It was a great and enthusiastic crowd. At one point we did a few kids songs and I busted out the scarves for them to wave around and there was 100% participation! You gotta love it when everyone feels comfortable enough to be that silly with each other. They even did Monkey Dance. Wow.

After the show we headed back to the Michelsons for yogurt parfaits (Pure Rock and Roll!) and homework (the kids, not me). A full and wonderful day.

Posted: October 7th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
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