I remember when I could do three shows in a day and not even breathe hard. I remember a few four show days, and one all time record of doing five. In this last case, all the shows were in the same place at a town's "Old Home Days" event, so there was no packing up, traveling and resetting, but nonetheless, it was five shows. I was a bit tired that day, but not outrageously so. I remember days where I would mow my acre of lawn with a push mower in the morning then travel to perform in the afternoon or evening. Ah, to be young. Now, at 61, the rare occaisions where I do two shows in a day leave me exhausted, sometimes even carrying over to the next day. Such was a day recently.
On last Thursday, I did a full outdoor show at Casco Inn, a senior living home (NOT a nursing home). It was one of the rare days in Maine this summer that was both hot and sunny. While the brightness of the sun directly overhead made it challenging to juggle, I pulled it off knowing that I had given the audience both a good show and a clear Gospel presentation. Meanwhile, my wife, Sue, was literally across the street at our home church getting things in the food from the food pantry organized with her co-servant Judy. This was because, after the show, we were heading to Lewiston to help throw a block party for the neighbors there.
The Root Cellar is an inner city outreach in Maine's second largest city. Lewiston, Maine was recently named the US city with the highest per capita Islamic population, and Root Cellar is right in the middle of the neighborhood where many of these immigrants and refugees are living. The Root Cellar provides everything from free dental clinics and skiing trips to after school care and English classes. We went there last week to celebrate the closing of their summer day camp. This put me in a different role form my usual performer role. That night our church was responsible for preparing and serving a free cookout for the neighborhood, thus Sue and Judy's prep work in our food pantry. We served barbecue chicken, potato salad, a vegetable tray, watermelon and cookies. We were told to plan for 150 people, and we got every bit of that if not more. We had enough food all, but we certainly didn't overplan. There was just a small amount of leftovers to be dealt with when it was over.
Judy, Sue and I were joined by Byron and Karlene from our church, Norman and Susie who are also food pantry volunteers, and the Sands family from WCA where both Sue and I teach. After grilling the chicken, setting up the buffet tables, serving the food, talking with the families and cleaning up once the families went indoors for the closing ceremony of their day camps, we all headed home. While the two teenagers from the Sands family probably weren't tired at all, I was exhausted. But I don't regret a second of that day.