Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cake and Cardboard

While making the eternal and flat great plain trek from Minneapolis to Lincoln I call up my old friend Heidi Ore Taylor. I must speak in a hushed tone so Anna can't hear me asking Heidi if there's any way she can bake an Angel Food birthday cake tonight for Anna's b-day. She is a righteous person and she gladly accepts the challenge. She puts her daughter Kyra on the phone to say hi and Kyra says, "do you have presents for us?" I say "welll...maybe..." On our last diesel stop I comb the novelty shelves inside the truck stop and find some dream catchers. When we arrive at their house in Lincoln I give them to Kyra and her older sister Zoie. They're stoked.

Throughout the 90's, Heidi and her husband John played in a band called Mercy Rule. On their last tour I was the nanny for the older daughter Zoie. Now she is in 6th grade. Every time we stay at their house in Lincoln it's amazing to see how Zoie is growing up along with her sister. I have a journal from that tour which documents her daily goings-on as an infant on the road. When she graduates high school I will give it to her.

John brings the cake down to the show later and we work it out that before our last song he'll present the cake to Anna, candles burning and all. So we end our second last song, a new bumper currently titled, "Untitled." I announce that it's Anna's birthday and that we have a special gift. John comes to the stage, cake in hand and I get the audience to join me in singing Happy Birthday to Anna. She is thoroughly surprised. Cake makes Anna happy. After the show we eat it and celebrate.

The next morning I line up a full body birthday massage for Anna through my friend Tara. I hang out with Tara's son Aaron while she is massaging Anna. I try and explain to him what New York is like while showing him some photos on the web. Lincoln has a pointy capitol building and when I show him a picture of the Empire State building he says "is that the capitol building?" I am reminded and inspired by the fact that kids' minds wander in different ways than our adult minds.

Anna and Tara finish. Anna feels refreshed and rejuvinated, somewhat lethargic too. All the lifting and sitting and playing and lifting on tour gets to the muscles in such a way that at times makes you feel frozen.

Speaking of frozen, the cold has lifted on our drive to Denver. The cardboard sheet has come off the front of van's radiator which helps the engine generate more heat so we have have heat in the cabin. This is a little trick that's worth trying if you're on tour and your van isn't getting you the heat you desire. Last year on our spring tour we froze-this year we got cardboard. The closer we get to Denver the warmer it gets. We're feeling pretty happy to have escaped the Midwest winter without freezing like we did last year.

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