Thursday, June 9, 2011

Confessions Of A Greg Brown Fan Part Ten

Whatever the term is for an adrenalin hangover is, I sure had one the next morning.  I showered, threw on some clothes and went to grab some coffee in the lobby.  It was, after all, too early for gin and I hadn’t touched that stuff in twenty-five years anyway.  A number of out-of-town Greg fans stayed in the same hotel and I joined them in the outdoor garden area.  They all raved about what a great time they had the whole weekend with all the festivities and how glad they were that they came.  It was gratifying to hear that I was a small part of providing them pleasure and making it fun to raise money for foster kids.  One of the people in this group admitted he recorded the show from the audience as he handed me a CD.  He said my birthday song was on it.  This kind of precious gift is enough to cure any kind of hangover.  Sad goodbyes proceeded as we checked out of the hotel. 
It was off to a farewell breakfast with In Harmony’s leader and few of the other primary volunteers.  The stage manager for this weekend’s concerts and her husband were present, just like they were for the other two Solid Heart events.  There weren’t many of us non-Corvallis residents that actively participated in making all three of these celebrations come together.  At the breakfast meeting, we were informed that the bean counter’s initial calculation of funds raised far exceeded anybody’s expectations.  At least some of us had the energy to raise our glass of orange juice and toast our collective success.  The inevitable so longs and until we meet again hugs were painful.  Everyone got in their cars and headed in different directions home.  It didn’t take long to throw the new CD in and play my song over and over as we drove away.  About the time we crossed the Columbia River into Washington state, my wife got concerned my head might not fit through the door well when we got home.  She put on some less narcissistic Greg music for the rest of the trip.  Luckily, my swollen ego had subsided and I was able to get out of the car when we pulled into the driveway.  As always, the kids greeted us.  Years later, my oldest one and her friends confessed to having parties when we were away.  They had honed exceptional housekeeping skills because they never left a trace of such shenanigans.  The only time that happened was when I had a boyfriend of a different exchange student house sit.  The kids were with me that trip.  I found a cigar butt floating in the hot tub. 
The inventory items of the In Harmony distribution and shipping center I was in charge of multiplied with posters, various t-shirt sizes and colors, as well as, ultimately, a video of the show.  Admittedly, I was disappointed my song didn’t make the final cut, but in retrospect I regret more my failure to sufficiently support the DVD format over VHS.  The pixel farmer supplied the artwork for the cover and I spent many hours printing them, cutting copies to size and inserting them.  Orders were received almost daily and I got to be friends with the guys at the post office.  My packaging supplier at work provided me with the right sized cartons and bags for each item at their cost.  I paid for all of the packaging supplies and the postage.  Later, there would be an Ani DiFranco-Greg poster added to the list of inventory items. 
Ani did a couple benefit shows for the cause.  The first one was in Eugene.  It was another party opportunity for my daughter and her friends as we headed south again.  Upon arrival, we walked from our motel to the concert hall.  Along the way, my wife and artist friend noticed a sign in a record shop.  Harry Manx would be performing there the next afternoon.  That night, Greg played six songs, equal to about each hundred miles I put on the car that weekend.  I knew Ani was an anti-establishment rebel who had already built a financial empire.  My experience with her music was limited to the first two words she shouted out on one of her CDs.  My teenagers had never heard my say eff you and it was inappropriate for them to it hear blaring out of the stereo.  That night, she displayed her musical talents and won me back.  On the way back to the motel we passed the record shop again.  As much as I wanted to hit the road early the next morning, I was outvoted.  My wife and our artist friend, who donated the artwork for the Solid Heart CD, wanted to stay and hear Harry Manx.  Since I was the driver, I supposed I could have used veto power, but our artist friend had given me a copy of Greg’s free writing as he modeled for her in her studio once.  Add up another artifact in the museum vault. 
The next morning we enjoyed the open air farmer’s market before Harry’s performance.  Maybe a dozen people showed up for it.  With his permission, my wife recorded the first Harry Manx concert in the U.S..  With such a small crowd, we had a good chat.  We told him we were in town to see Greg and Ani.  A few months later, we went to see him perform in Seattle.  As he prepared to take an intermission, he announced there were CDs available in the back and he’d be glad to sign them and Greg Brown ones too after the show.  Although the audience was ten times the size of the day we met him, he recognized us in the crowd.                                        


  1. It does sound like a wonderful weekend. I'll bet you have about worn out that birthday blues song CD, I would if it had been for me. It was well deserved after all your effort.

    I enjoy Harry Manx too but why was he signing Greg's CD's?

  2. The Harry Manx comment was an inside joke between him and us. I'm sure nobody else in the audience made sense of it either.

    I experienced infinite joy volunteering, so the effort was full of love and fun. The Greg song was an unexpected bonus and honor I will treasure forever.