It was my monthly visit to Shankara for acoustic music in a fine vegan restaurant. I play for tips and a great meal to go, which usually gives me two meals on Monday and Tuesday. I really play there for the opportunity to play my music for several hours. I brush up on newer tunes, dust off some almost forgotten ones, and generally work on my fingerwork, arrangements and performance attitude.

I usually play straight through from 11 am til 1 pm, but it was advertised as a three hour gig til 2 pm. I left it open to play as long as there were folks there after one. That’s what happened. Interestingly, there wasn’t much difference. The third hour passed quite quickly.

There are generally few folks who come in, some who have no idea what I’m doing, but often some folks who know who I am. But, I get to play the material I want to work on.

The only table for the first hour was a young family with two young boys and a baby. The mom said she knew me when she was growing up. (Yet again…) After eating, she brought the lad up and I got out my bag of shakers for them to spend some time with. The little brother had hearing devices on both of his ears, and he was the musical one. The older boy got into the puppets, scarves and the gadgetry of some of the instruments. Different strokes, but that’s why I add the non-musical items to the bag. It’s all bait.

As they packed up, some other folks drifted in, an elderly couple, a couple of solo men, and some other couples. I worked on some of my softer stuff, instrumentals and folkie tunes. The older couple came up and the gentleman gave me a five spot and said, “You are a true artist.” That made my day.

As it turns out, that was my only tip for the day. I played for three hours for $5 cash, which I gave $3 to Esther, the waitress. That’s less than a dollar an hour.

Tell me about it. It’s more than the food, the pay. Must be something else.