Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Tip Jar Miracle

I might not have much money,  but 'you ever got yer wheels greased on the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower in the middle of a hot August night in Paris  - drunk on red wine and completely mesmerized by the deepest sparkling brown eyes and the most beautiful luscious red lips  a woman ever wore?  Describe that in a balance sheet.

You ever spent the last $20 you have to your name on lunchmeat, bread, and dog food for a homeless guy with a  sign and a skinny dog  on a street corner. I highly recommend it.  My experience has been that usually, before the sun comes up, I've got at least a few nickels more than I needed to begin with.

You ever walk into work, broke and worried,  and in 4 hours time, pull everything you need and more  out of an old cowboy boot? I do all the time. After awhile it cures you of worrying about being broke.

I have an old acquaintance who has luxury homes all over the country, and more money than a Silver Eagle bus could  hold. He's right next door to a heart attack, alone, kind of miserable, and scared to death of things that never happen. He likes to talk about himself and he's afraid to be alone. He's a hard cat to like because of it. 

He has lot's of people that he hands out money to, but no real friends. The last time I saw him  he told me that he'd really like to do what I do  - but he couldn't - too much responsibility - not enough time. With all that money he can't buy his own freedom to live the way that makes him happy.  I feel more badly for the man than you could know..  

Not everyone gets choices - I know I am fortunate because I do. I wish for every single soul I know, those same choices - that money never be a good enough reason to miss out on doing what you love, being with who you love, experiencing the outrageous and sublime. To experience the opportunity to trust in the next moment without fear. 

Its crazy, I know. 

Sunday afternoon I rolled into Powderhorn Ski area to play a gig,  with my fuel light on and $8 in my pocket. The night before I had played one of the most memorable gigs of my life - a benefit show for The American Cancer Society. I could have taken a paying gig, but it was far more important to me to play the benefit. I lost my mother recently to cancer. I wanted to give everything I could,  and that's exactly what I did. I met a woman and her son who reminded me  what courage was. You can't buy that. 

I had left my empty propane tank at the fuel stop in Mesa, to be refilled - so I needed to make at least enough in tips to cover propane and gasoline, if I wanted to get home and have heat. $40 bucks minimum - usually not a problem, but the day was cold and a storm was moving across the area. It was late in the weekend and most folks were headed for home. 

Even with these conditions, a surprising number of folks stayed around to have a drink and listen to me. I was thoroughly flattered - seriously. The tips were looking sorta thin but sometimes that's just how it goes. 

Somewhere in the second set I played a song from my old pal Kevin Welch - "Heaven Sent". It's a song about being grateful. I told a little story like I often do, about being the richest man I know - albeit occasionally monetarily challenged. I got a good laugh from the audience and I remember telling myself "If this is as good as it gets today - that's good enough" 

From what I could see in my old tip boot when I went to pack up, it didn't look like much. When I started unfolding the 1s & 5s, I found $85 folded neatly among all the crumpled green. I don't know who it was, but as I sit here now "snug as a bug" warm with Elvis & June Carter, thankful for  an anonymous strangers generosity, I really do hope that they get to enjoy their life as much as I love mine. 

I hope that kindness and grace never leave their side. The same goes for everyone who ever put a nickel, or a bill, or a joint, or a bud, or a check, or even a cupcake or milk bone dog treats ( you see it all after awhile) in my boot. It not only keeps me alive but it keeps me believing. I hope, and I try with everything I got - to work at this thing, and to deserve the confidence of my audiences and friends. So far - so good😄

"Peace Out"
"Don't take any wooden nickels"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You for leaving a comment:-)