Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Go West, Young man !!

Another beautiful morning in Omaha saw me waking up at about 8am and greeting the folks around the breakfast table. No gravy this morning.....just toast and yogurt, very Californian...
I drove to the airport, escorting Pam and her mother for their flight home to Los Angeles and took to the streets of Omaha almost like a native and found my way back to our friends' house in one piece. Picked Chris up and headed west on I 80 for Sutherland, out through Lincoln and beyond....

We left about 11am and arrived in Sutherland just before 4pm. It was an interesting drive, much of the scenery looked a lot like the center of Ireland, rolling fields with scattered trees and the further west we traveled the more cattle we saw. Upon arriving we were met by Mark, our House Concert host and he turned out to be a very hospitable gentlemen. His home is perfect for an intimate concert, the acoustics are terrific. Shortly after, his wife Muriel showed up carrying the evening meal under her arm. Free Range chicken..... the two birds were cut up, floured and "fried" Nebraska style. It was delicious. I'm just saying that because we are in Nebraska, great home cookin'....there was mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and Yes, you said it ....GRAVY !!!! Now I really think I'm becoming a native....We had a lovely dinner and I got prepared for the show. Earlier I took some nice pics of their home and the surrounding fields, very pastoral and quiet, just lovely.

Round about 7.15 pm people started showing up, all told I'd say there were about forty bodies present for the concert, all seated on folding chairs in the living room. I sat next to the fireplace and began to regale the audience with my Irish history and the heavy sad songs that we are so famous for. Last night's crowd, being Irish and Irish American at Castle Barrett were well used to this kind of material so I was carefully reading the faces of these Sutherlanders to see how much they could stand. Once again, a hardy breed these Nebraskans and with the exception of my yelling at them to pop their Bud lights only between songs, they were once again, very respectful and attentive.

I kept promising them the second set would have much lighter notes and "not to lose faith"....Susan from the "Thunder on the Plains" Irish dance troupe had driven all the way out from Omaha and danced several times to my mandolin accompaniment. She was wonderful as usual. Thank you Susan..... I actually sang some requests as the evening was fairly informal. Mark, our charming host screamed out for "Seven Drunken Nights", much to the elated Bud Light poppers delight. There was no saying no and, trooper that I am, I obliged and pulled no punches, wading past the original Dubliners 1966 recording which reached the Top 10 British pop charts but was censored to five nights not seven, to come to a huge Irish climax, no pun intended and a standing ovation, oops, another pun not intended....

Well, that was it...the last notes were sung and the lights were lowered. Once again, lots more hand shakes and wound down the night with our new friends Muriel and Mark, and the last of the stragglers.

We are going to visit the sand hills in the morning, which I believe is more Prairie scenery. One of the young Bud Light brigade said "We gotta go 'Tankin' "... You know for some reason, with a plane to Los Angeles to catch at 6pm in Omaha and a five hour drive from here in the morning , that sounds like it might be a good idea to go 'Tankin' next's something to do with a big metal barrel or tank, cut in half and twenty people jump in and you roll down the nearest river....with Bud Lights, of course....yeh, maybe next time !!

Until next time, I want to thank everyone in Nebraska who helped us make this tour happen, everyone who put us up and drove us around and yeh, fed us GRAVY !!!! For me the greatest pleasure I have had here was playing and singing for all the new people who have now gotten to know me. I truly look forward to another visit again soon and am returning home to California with a more educated sense of who these people are, what they do and where they live.

I will sign off on this note....something I heard from a native Nebraskan when I arrived here on Saturday last. I told this story tonight to the folks who came to the concert assuring them that this phrase was not to offend only amuse. Apparently there was a contest in recent years to come up with a slogan for the State of Nebraska to encourage tourism in the state. Someone came up with this one .... "Nebraska, Bring Something to Do"..... One way of looking at it...... "I brought it and we did it"...... Thank you everybody for hanging in with me.....'til the next time....K

No comments:

Post a Comment