I felt the burden of five hours of performing and nine hours of travel over the last two days when I set up and started to play at 9:30 am on Saturday morning. Even though it is only a couple of miles from home (not CT as the day before), the major Celtic Classic was in town and it took all of my local driving smarts to avoid the festival, the joggers’ road race, and general traffic mayhem to find my way to the Rose Garden. Regardless, I got there in time, set up my chairs, bag, mando/tip case, my mandolin and guitar and started on time.

My strings were dead (and extremely hard to tune) from all my recent gigs and my voice was shot but I was up and running. Even though I play straight through for two hours, the time passes quickly, with various friendly faces passing through, kids, grandmoms and parents stopping by to engage with the music and a quite wonderful and temperate fall morning in PA.

I realized at the end that this was the last Rose Garden Farmers’ Market for the season. I chatted with Mary, the market manager, as I finished packing up, and she shared her appreciation for my work. The vendors all comment on how the music adds to the atmosphere (something that is not immediately apparent to me) and energizes the scene.

I took some time to change my dead strings for Saturday night’s showcase in NJ, and then headed to my friend/vendor who saves me some tomatoes to take home. Today, I copped some peppers, some sunflowers from the flower vendor and some goat cheese from the Flint Hill folks. These are the things that keep me grounded in my community.