Friday, September 14, 2007

Festivals and car trouble

What a wild month! I began with the Kansas City Irish Festival, then performed at the Choctaw Oklahoma Oktoberfest (say that five times fast!) and next week will go to the Moonshell Storytelling Festival in Nebraska. Sounds like I'm always performing at festivals, though in fact schools, libraries and museums are my main bread and butter. I've got some of those this month as well.

As I backed out of my driveway on the way to the Irish festival, the car had a little hiccup. It didn't improve with driving. Fortunately, I had friends going to the festival about an hour after me, so if I got stuck on the side of the road, I could call for a ride. I did arrive at the festival and also got home (thanks for the escort!). I was relieved that I could borrow a car from my sister for the next day.

At that festival, I was booked for two ghost story sessions, one on Saturday night for older kids and adults and one on Sunday for all ages. Saturday was the better set, with stronger stories and less sound bleed from the main stage. The second night, I could barely hear my own voice. I knew that the audience could hear me (good microphone and speakers), but it was a struggle. This was the first time this stage was in that location--hope they change it next year. The organizers of the children's activities seemed as frustrated as I was with the sound.

I got the car fixed (new distributor cap wires and a new valve cover) and figured I was set. On Friday I got in the car for the five-hour drive to Oklahoma, only to find that it wouldn't start. Got a jumpstart from a friend and a new battery and off I went. Whew.

I didn't know what to expect from the Oktoberfest. I was pleased that there was a tent for the children's activities well away from the music stage. While I could hear the occasional oompah or yodel from the beer tent, it was not loud enough to distract. I told a mix of stories to kids and adults, some of whom were also doing crafts at the same time. The German Club from the high school helped with the crafts and I had great support from Debbie from the Chamber of Commerce, who ran the tent. I officiated at the sack races, hula hoop competitions and egg-and-spoon races. These were impromptu affairs, as in fact were my sets--I had no schedule for my four performances each day. It was steamy hot in the tent both days, especially after it rained. I don't think I've ever sweat that much during a performance. I had to borrow my puppet Trixie's handkerchief to mop my face. Never mind, I was having a good time.

After the first day, I sat with a beer and a bratwurst, listening to the music and watching people. Lots of men in lederhosen and women in dirndls. I would have danced if I hadn't been so tired. I went back to the hotel and slept.

In the morning, the car wouldn't start again. A kind man in the breakfast room jumpstarted it for me. Though I don't like being a damsel in distress, I confess to being afraid to jumpstart my car. I drove across the street to a mechanic. The fellow there diagnosed a dying starter. He suggested that I keep it running as much as possible.

At the festival, I parked in a way to make jumpstarting easy. After another fun day of performing, I had a half beer and a brat. Still too tired to dance. I turned the key in the ignition with trepidation. It started up. Good.

Not so good the next morning as I tried to start it to drive home. Another kind man from the breakfast room jumpstarted it, also thumping on the starter to encourage it. I was deeply relieved when it came to life. I didn't turn it off, even the two times I had to get gas and the one stop at a rest area. I drove it directly to my mechanic's shop. The next day I had a new starter. All is well.

Next week I'll drive to the Moonshell Festival in Nebraska. I'm looking forward to the performances and hoping for a calm and uneventful drive up there. My mechanic reassures me that the car is in good shape and should last for a long time, despite this little spate of repairs. Hope so!

1 comment:

Basil Glenn said...

I'm so glad to hear your car had enough life in it to get you to and back from the festival. It sounds like it was a lot of fun! I hope your mechanic was right and that your car lasted a lot longer! Do you still have this car, or have you since bought yourself another one?