Music, Gambling, & A Monkey

Monday, November 18, 2002

Friday, Angela & I drove up to Lawrence, KS to see Kris Delmhorst perform. It was a great show, definitely worth the drive. The show was put on by West Side Folk, a volunteer organization that books folk artists for venues in Lawrence. This particular concert was held in the Plymouth Congregational Church. The church was beautiful — the high, curved ceiling and ornate decorations added a touch of opulence to our simple gathering. It was small, but not in a bad way. There were plenty of pews, and it seemed like every seat was a good seat. I wish Oklahoma City had an organization like West Side Folk.

The opening act was K.C. Clifford, with her fiancé David accompanying on guitar. They put on a good show. I don’t remember the name, but there was a song she wrote for her parent’s that I thought best demonstrated her talent. “The Barbie Song” was a huge hit with the crowd. We found out later that they live in Oklahoma City, so hopefully we’ll get to see them again.

There was a short intermission, during which refreshments were served and donations were gladly accepted. :-) I’ve decided I’m going to start wearing a button that says, “Donations gladly accepted.” Why not? It’s a great statement — ambiguous, yet completely true. It makes no promises as to the worthiness of the cause your money is supporting. It’s not begging, it’s just letting people know they won’t be turned away if they are looking to donate. And, who among us would not gladly accept a donation? Come to think of it, “donations begrudgingly accepted” would just be silly. Personally, I would greet every contributor with a smile, a thank you, and a hearty hand shake. Just something to keep in mind next to time you see me…

Kris Delmhorst played next. She is a gifted singer/songwriter from the Boston area. Kris has a talent for imagery that is complex yet recognizable. Accompanyed by Steve Mayone, her set included a mix of folk, blues, and gospel. She played a lot of great songs from her two albums, as well as some new stuff she plans on putting on an album real soon. Kris is also very funny — she told stories about her days of singing to chickens, and the various ways people have misinterpreted some of her lyrics. This show was well worth the drive.

Afterward, we drove to Olathe, KS, where we had reserved a room at the EconoLodge. This motel holds the distinction of being the worst place we’ve ever stayed. The room was comfortable enough, except for the table whose top wasn’t attached to its base. What really makes this place bad is the guy (the manager or owner, I assume) who calls each morning to harrass the guests. The first morning he called to ask when we would get out of the room so they could clean. The next morning he called at 10:15 to ask if we were staying another night. When I said no, he told me we had 30 minutes left to check out. An odd statement, considering our check-out time was 11:00. While we’re packing up to leave, the cleaning staff knocks on the door — right at 10:45. I don’t appreciate being made to feel like I’m inconveniencing them by making use of the room for which I paid. That’s not a good way to treat customers. We filled out their comment card, and complained on EconoLodge’s website.

The rest of our trip was nice. We did some shopping in Olathe and some gambling in Kansas City. We played “Cosmic Mini Golf” at the mall in Olathe. It was indoor miniature golf played under black lights with glow-in-the-dark equipment. We also passed by Jeepers, which has what I consider the best tag line ever — “Donations gladly accepted.” No, that isn’t it. :-) It is, “Food, fun, and a monkey!” Talk about marketing genius! You can go anywhere for food, or fun, or some combination of the two. But, throw in a monkey, and now you’ve got something! It makes me wonder how many years they struggled, only offering food and fun, until someone with some business sense thought, “…And a monkey!” And, all of a sudden, they’re living the American dream…