Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High Road to Invermere, BC

It's a glorious day! Rick drops Big Dave off at Hoogie and Suzanne's, in Black Diamond, AB, where I am staying. It is not often I meet folks I like as much as these! And I like their dogs, too. I feel humbled by their genuine western hospitality and manners. After yet another cup of cowboy coffee, we say our good-byes and get on the road. We're going to zig south out of Black Diamond and pick up one of my favourite secondary highways— by-passing Calgary to link to the TransCanada just outside Banff, AB. This road runs north through the mountains, and we have to drive past Ian Tyson's place on today's route. I doubt that we'll see more than a couple of trucks for the next couple of hours. Just us and the open (I hope!) road. They shut this one down in the winter months and we're getting close to that time.

Nice drive, don't you think?

Invermere is a pretty little resort town. In season it must really jump. At the moment, the streets are pretty quiet. My pal Leslie Alexander turned me on to this place. Big Dave used to play at a big dance hall down by the lake, but apparently that was back in The Day. Before the place burnt down, that is. Anyway, we see a roadside sign with our names on it as we are coming into town, so we are hoping for the best.

A classic sedan delivery outside the venue flags it for us. We wander in and meet Tony, the owner/chef/guy who makes it happen. He's a foodie, for sure, and I have no doubt that we will be well fed! We've got a bit of a carry to the stage door with our PA. I don't mind, and Dave doesn't complain, but I think he's probably hurting. I wish he would just let me lug all the gear! As usual, our Long and McQuade PA sets up fast and easily, and sounds great with just a couple of SM57 and 58 mics. Strands is a good sounding little room, well suited for acoustic shows. The staff are all very nice to us, and we are very much looking forward to this evening's show! Meanwhile Tony directs us to our lodgings— a well appointed guest house just a couple of blocks away.

With time to kill, we make a grocery run, a vitamin stop, and head back to the house to relax for a while before suiting up. Nice beds, gas fireplace, deer running in the front yard...

All dressed we make our way in the front doors. Strands is upscale without being pretentious. Comfortable. We are seated and fed like kings. Dave and I really appreciate the care the staff take to see to our comfort and needs. A large tip is left in thanks. Showtime, and it is a mixed crowd here tonight. Birthdays and business dinners, and a "girls night out" group. People who have heard us recently on the CBC and on CKUA. Honeymooners. Some listen hard. Some talk through the show. But all in all, they are a pretty good bunch, and we are able to deliver a good show to them. At the end of the evening we wander through the tables shaking hands, signing CDs, getting our pictures taken, chatting like old friends.

Dave takes it upon himself to break the PA down while I am taking care of the business end of the evening. This is one of the great things about working with Dave— we both know what to do, we don't need to ask or delegate. All the jobs big and small seem to get done both well and on time, and quite cheerfully. We love what we do, and we've each been at this nearly 40 years. Still, tonight I'm worried about Dave's hernia condition. I'd be just as cheerful if he'd waited for me to lift the bins down. I KNOW you can do it, Dave!

Back at the house we put on the gas fireplace, change into sleep clothes, and relax with a late snack. I get out the new mandolin and figure out how to tune it. This is not a fine instrument, although it does look cool. It should be suitable for me to fool around on and perfect my Yank Rachel chops! Now an amazing thing happens. The doorbell rings. Who can it be? It's late. There's a car in the drive with its lights on and its motor running... Opening the door we are surprised to see Tony from the venue. What could be wrong? Did either of us lose anything at the restaurant, asks Tony. Perhaps some money? Sure enough, I'm missing my cash float of about $300 from my jacket pocket! Calmly, Tony hands me the money. "The girls found this when they were cleaning up," he said. Wow. Tony and his staff are a class act all the way down to the end. How often would a wad of small bills find its way back to its owner?? I feel stupid at somehow having lost this, but very grateful and humbled by its return to me. Tony bids us good-bye and good night. I marvel at the goodness of the world, and hope I can live up to the same standards myself.

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