Day 3: Woody, AOK, Joy

(For those of you just joining us, I’m posting road journals from my recent tour to Arkansas and back – October 2011)

Day 3 – Woody, AOK, Joy

I woke up in the Michelson’s basement. Thankfully, that’s also where I had fallen asleep. I love it when it works out that way. After breakfast, joining the kids at the bus stop, and receiving a lovingly packed sack lunch from Tera, I was off once again. Southbound on I-35. After an hour or so I was nearing the Oklahoma border so I did what any halfways self aware folky would do. I put in a Woody Guthrie CD. A collection under the title, “Hard Travelin’” And indeed I was singing along with Woody as I entered his home state and pulled into the rest stop and Welcome Center. My first shock was that there were no visible signs of Woody at the rest stop. No statues. No “Home of Woody Guthrie” banners. Weird. I went into the Welcome Center where two kind and (assuming the standard ratio between age and wisdom) incredibly wise ladies were answering people’s questions about some dude by the name of Garth Brooks. I patiently waited my turn and finally got to ask my big question, “Where was Woody born?” Blank stare. Perhaps I wasn’t showing proper respect. “Where was Mr. Woody Guthrie born?” A slightly less blank stare. Then she replied, “I believe he is from Oklahoma, but I’m not sure where he was born.” What? What kind of Welcome Center is this? Where is the wisdom of my elders when I need it? She consulted the other lady who pulled out a list, “We have a list of most of those places…” pause, “but I don’t see it on here.” She had list of 50+ people and where they were born and Woody wasn’t on it? Not cool Oklahoma. Not cool. I mumbled thanks, filled up on free coffee, walked outside and pulled out my smart phone. Within 10 strokes of my thumb I had lept beyond the circle of my elders and landed in the greener pastures of the world wide web. Okemah. That’s where he was born. Google, 1. Kind old ladies, 0. I had my answer but it had come at a price. I felt dirty inside.

But let’s not dwell.

As it turns out Okemah wasn’t on my way and I don’t exactly have my hopes up that anyone in Okemah is aware of their status as birthplace of the author of our nation’s unofficial national anthem. I felt a side trip would only lead to disappointment.

Instead I headed straight for Joy Lutheran in Tulsa. This would be my first ever gig in the AOK (Arkansas Oklahoma) Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) (Abbreviating doesn’t always save time when you end up spelling it out anyway. Oh well. Whatevs.) (Whatever.)

Pastor Nathan Allen was at the church and it was great to meet face to face. I had contacted him about my open date on the calendar and he graciously offered his congregation as a host for a concert. I really appreciate that! I had a chance to crash at the church for a few hours and catch up on e-mail and piano lessons and then Nathan and his son picked me up for dinner. We went to a great German restaurant where I had a killer Reuben. Between the amazing food and conversation we lost track of time until he noticed it was 10 minutes till I was supposed to start and we were about 8 minutes away! We bolted for church and made it, barely late, and luckily someone else had opened the building. It was a smaller crowd, but that doesn’t bug me a bit. Of course it’s always great to play for a big crowd, but I’ve learned to never take that for granted. I’ve played tons of shows to single digit crowds. I’ve also played to thousands. The thing is either way I get to do what I love. I think sometimes smaller crowds are unduly hard on themselves. Don’t be! I’m pretty much a nobody in Tulsa OK. The fact that anybody would book me and come out to see me is above and beyond in my book. So thank you Nathan and Joy Lutheran for taking a risk on me and hosting the concert! It was a great time and a warm welcome. I’m honored. Let’s do it again.

After the concert and a Pepsi for the road, I headed for Arkansas via the comfy and familiar surroundings of another Walmart parking lot. Ah, the glamor of it all.

Posted: October 12th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment.

Like Nate on Facebook

Purchase Reform Follows Function on iTunes