JOUSTING AT WINDMILLS AND OTHER ADVENTURES

For fans of classic literature you may remember a certain character that spent a bit of time jousting with windmills. Well, on more than one occasion that sums up how I feel, and last evening was most definitely one of those occasions.
Case in point, last evening. I had two presentations to make on Saturday night and as the topic was Route 66 for both, in theory there should have been an easy flow. 
It was the final edition of Chillin’ on Beale for the year. This event that is a no charge, low key get together in the historic district held on the third Saturday evening of each month from April until October seems to be growing in popularity. 
Enhanced by the warm weather, last nights festivities were well attended. So, in theory the presentations should have played to a packed house. 
I am quite confident they would have, if there was a functioning microphone, or if suitable arrangement had been made for the requested slide show, or if more thought and planning had gone into the location selected. Well, if nothing else I am flexible. 
Having written almost a dozen books and several hundred feature articles in the past couple of decades I have improved upon my ability to roll with the punches, a valuable asset first learned during my John Wayne period. That, however, is a story for another day. 
The first presentation was in conjunction with Mike Wagner, a primary organizer behind the 2014 Route 66 International Festival. Since we lacked a functioning microphone, Mike scrounged up a bull horn to round up a crowd.
Then we gathered in a tight circle that most likely looked like a lynch mob to those driving by, and we provided details about the forthcoming Route 66 International Festival, and issued a call for volunteers. I figured if Abraham Lincoln could address a crowd without electronic enhancement, I could too. 
Of course I don’t think Mr. Lincoln was competing with passing trains, or a boisterous crowd, or music being played on the street a block away, or a parade of hot rods and motorcycles. Still, we soldiered on and held the attention of a crowd of about thirty that seemed quite inspired by what we had to say.
The second half of the evening was to be a presentation about the evolution of Route 66, complete with slide show, an installment in the Smithsonian Journeys series. When I agreed to do this, the venue had yet to be selected.
A couple of weeks ago I learned that the parking lot at Redneck’s Barbecue on Beale Street had been set aside for this so it would coincide with Chillin’ on Beale. My first thought was that this is going to be interesting. It was.
Details aren’t really important. They may be provided at a future date, once the shock wears off.

On a serious note, when it comes to obligations and commitments made, I adhere to the old adage that the show must go on even when absolutely everything goes wrong. I should correct that as not everything went wrong, it wasn’t raining.
If there was a silver lining to the debacle it would be that the restricted venue allowed for a more intense and personal one on one question and answer session (photo by Marilyn Moore). So, from that perspective, I feel it went rather well. 
Next on the list, speaking with Dale Butel’s fall tour on Monday, a visit from Mark Powell, a friend from England, and speaking at Westerner’s International in Prescott. That should close out the year, at least as far as visits from international friends and speaking engagements go.
And that takes me to 2014, a year that is making me think that, perhaps, I need to learn how to juggle.     
           

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