So many little stories, so little time. For our Pendleton stop, we camped at a gorgeous little summer camp called Meadow Wood Springs, about half an hour outside of town, in the foothills of the mountains. They were our sponsor and a good one at that. The campfire crackled at night, and the moon grew larger with each evening. Songs were sung and jokes were told, (Surprise!)
When we broke camp the effort was fantastic. Sunshine beamed upon our merry selves. We pulled together as a group and left that place cleaner than we found it, in record time. The kitchen sign up sheets have been getting filled with enthusiasm. The group dynamic is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Here we are mimicking the Wiener Dog races on the track in down town Pendleton.
Pendleton was an interesting experience. The highlight was undoubtedly the prison show, which you can read about in the previous entry. With a population of 16,000 I think our presence here was less appreciated than in other places. Maybe it’s because they have a Rodeo every other weekend, maybe it’s the economy, but we gave out about 1,000 handbills, had a parade, participated in the Wiener dog races, had a booth at Farmers Market and had posters up everywhere. None-the-less, the turnout for the big show was surprisingly low, maybe 100 people in an 800-seat theatre. What happened!?
This has spurred some interesting conversations about how to make the job easier for our sponsor and in choosing which towns we visit. There seems to be a growing consensus that the smaller the town, the better the experience. After all, we are meant to provide education and entertainment to underserved communities. Something to consider…
Despite low turnout, the people who attended or participated in some way had a great time, here’s a review, “Enjoyed your show tonight here in Pendleton! My kids were amazed and loved every second of the show. You guys are beyond amazing!!! Thank you for the wonderful entertainment.” Here’s another, “thanks for visiting our town my wife amanda and i really enjoyed watching all of you preform and thanks to Della for teaching us how to do the rope knots that was cool. And every1 else was amazing too:) stop by again.” Forgive the syntax, these are exact quotes taken from Facebook.
Now we are in John Day. Immediately after arrival we performed at a senior center. Getting there and pulling it off in time was quite hectic, but we did it.
A great moment came after Clay serenaded an old woman; he went to give her his card and pulled out mine instead. Later, after my act our MC, Becky said “and that’s the guy whose card you have.” Clay replied “don’t you be trying to steal my woman.” So I jumped out and gave her my best stud muffin impression with a wink too. Well that ruffled Clay’s feathers and in true spontaneous fashion, next thing you know these two young chaps are clown style duking it out for the love of an 80-year old woman in front of the whole home. Classic.
Another beautiful occurrence was letting a member hold baby Annabella for most of the show. She was so happy. As usual, we hung around after the show to shake hands and talk. Here’s a quote from someone who worked there, “Thank you for the SPECTACULAR SHOW you all performed for the residents of Valley View Assisted Living Facility tonight! We were AMAZED at the many talents!!! We had such a GREAT time! You all are FANTASTIC performers! Thanks again for the “gift of joy” you gave us tonight!!!”
The parade today was magnificent. A number of local children joined, the police escorted us and the townspeople were very merry. We paraded through a grocery store, one of our favorite things ever! Into a Les Schwab where we sang happy birthday to some employee who ended up literally running away. It really was his birthday though. Handbills were passed out and enthusiasm for tonight’s show seems very high in this little town of 1,700.
We’re camped at the fairgrounds, tents spread out across the grassy field. We have a big open warehouse type space for late night juggling, rehearsals and music making, as well as an industrial kitchen to cook in, such a pleasure. Here’s a little clip from our late night juggle session. I like how slowly we realize that we actually did it.
The show will be out on the lawn, and we’re setting up right now. The sun is shining and the breeze is blowing. There’s much to do, in fact Stefan just asked who wants to help set up the bleachers. So off I go! Toodle-oo friends, toodle-oo.