This is a nifty little gig that I like to play for the halibut, no pay upfront, tips in the mandolin case, a loaf of bread, a few sticky buns and a great pizza to go. Two hours of acoustic practice.

I got to the gig close to show time just before 7 pm (an hour plus drive from Bethlehem) and totted my instruments into an empty restaurant. Tonight was the first gig outside on the deck so I headed out the back door. There were about 5 tables of folks out there so I unpacked and started in acoustically. I was glad I didn’t need my amp and speaker for this one. Not everyone does this.

The deck looks out onto a beautiful gorge and stream 50 feet down, with a spray of green trees and a clear blue evening sky above. This is okay in my book. I set out my mando case and started in with my adult material. Folks with bottles of wine, good food and a beautiful scenario.

People enjoyed the music and my occasional patter. In the last half hour a dad showed up with his two young sons so I shifted into my kids’ engagement mode, knowing that the adults dig that part of the show. The two boys warmed up, after their ice cream cones, and we did some interactive stuff like Giants, We Gave Names to the Animals, and they really were amazed by my vocal trombone – great looks on their faces. We hit it off famously.

I wrapped up the night around 9 pm, chatted with a jazz guitarist who stopped by, rapped with the kids and dad, collected my $38 in tips (enough $5 spots to make it worth it) and collected my bakery swag for the evening. I headed back to Bethlehem in a good mood.