As much as we’ve talked about planning our tour schedule around the weather, you wouldn’t expect to see Minnesota on our February calendar. There it was. Not only did we have a week booked in Rochester, MN, we also planned to drive there! We were a little nervous as we watched the Weather Channel the night before we left. “STORMS COMING IN! WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY! DON’T DRIVE! STAY HOME NEXT TO THE FIRE CUDDLED UP NEXT TO YOUR WIFE! YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE OUT OF SCHOOL SO DON’T GO ANYWHERE!” That’s the basic message that was being broadcast as we got in the van and headed north. Snow was flurrying and we were scurrying.
As soon as we left Arkansas, the snows hit. Schools were closed and the worst weather week of the year descended on our families. Meanwhile, up in Minnesota, Keith and I were treated to some of the finest weather imaginable in February. It was cold (down to -15 one night), but there was no snow or ice to fight and every day we were up there seemed to get warmer. Not only was the weather decent, but the experience of playing in Minnesota was exceptional. We spent our days doing concerts and workshops with mostly fourth grade students in the area. Keith discovered a uniquely Minnesota art form. There’s a man up there who paints pictures with goose poop. With the hundreds of thousands of geese that winter in Rochester, there’s loads of the medium just laying around! The artist says he started doing it to keep from biting his nails. There was one high school performance and workshop on our agenda. The school was a “charter school.” The student body looked like a combination of hippies and post-punk rockers. There were some amazing mohawk haircuts and ear piercings that you could drive a matchbox truck through. On the surface, it was a bit intimidating, but the reality was that this was a bunch of extremely bright and creative young people. Our writing workshop was over all too quickly and we all left inspired. We look forward to our next excursion to the frozen wilds of Minnesota.
Spring break is coming up in about a week. Both of our families have plans to travel. The Grimwoods plan to continue their tradition of zoo tours. They plan to explore Kansas and beyond. The Idlets have booked a trip to the Grand Canyon. It’ll be the first time for all of them but Karen.
With spring hovering so closely, it’s time for us to start thinking about gardening again. Keith actually looked at his tiller the other day and checked to see if the lawnmower was still in the shed. Ezra looked out at the weed patch that is the Idlet garden and just like the groundhog, went back into his den. It won’t be very long and we’ll all be out in shorts and sandals.
This spring will also find us in Austin, Texas, on April 26th playing Trout music with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Our producer and friend, Fred Bogert, has arranged several of our songs for orchestra and we’re really excited about performing with them. We hope to see you there.
Keith & Ezra