I got a call from the Madison FM on Tuesday to see if I could fill in for a cancellation, and, of course, I said sure. Let’s drive for 3.5 hours up and back, play for 3 hours for $100. No problem.

I still had a good time since I played well and made some great connections with some adults and a bunch of kids in the process. The first two hours has me playing towards the vendors as the elite clientele goes walking by. About 45 minutes in, one woman tossed in a couple of bucks and I shouted, “Ladies and gentlemen, I finally got a tip! Thank you, Madison!” It was taken in good spirit but it needed to be said.

As folks gather on the lawn behind me, I turn my chair around and face the large green. Families tend to set up a little scrum of blankets and chairs, order pizza from the vendor, let the kids loose and socialize. It’s really two gigs in one. The kids come up and dive into my bag of instruments, puppets and scarves and we have a great time.

I am giving out a bunch of CDs these days, especially to the kids and families that interact at close range. I play right to those folks, and it’s important to seal the deal with a CD. Worth it.

The drive home is not so bad, with a fresh stick of podcasts and some adrenalin from the gig. I’m nuts to do this but I love it, for some reason.