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  May 13th, 2004 - Cow Bop enters Oklahoma City and the Cowboy Museum of Western Heritage...

Got up on the wrong side of the bandstand today, I guess the pressure of being the dad sorta got to me. Should we just wimp out and luxuriate in the motel, and laze away waiting for the storm of the century to arrive while we could be out cowboppin? What if it didn't rain at all? I mean, the weather channel has to make it exciting, no? They can't very well get me to watch for forecast updates every ten minutes if my life ain't in imminent danger can they?

I decided we had to move on, at least the ten miles to Oklahoma City (and find a cheaper hotel, see, Tulsa's house of blues taught me not one thing). After all, had a few things to meet, people to be, all of that. I informed the troops to ready for bivouac, and after nitpicking like a heel-bitin Chihuahua and acting like a grumpy old man (which is happening rapidly, more on that to follow) we converged in the parking lot, Clementine her ever ready self. The dark clouds and gusty winds had me a bit spooked, but I assured all that we were gonna miss it. We wrassled with the tarp that covers the speaker we use-when we have the option to use some sound reinforcement. It isn't an easy task in gale-force winds, and to strategically spread it so the wear spots wouldn't be in any high water areas (not that it was really gonna rain). Everyone was trying to help so much it looked like an octopus playing Twister.

Finally, we moved on. I gotta say, if the guys thought I was nuts or felt any resistance, they concealed it from me, although I was ridin with spurs and I think they knew it. I called Shorty at Shorty's Caboy Hattery, which is the place for hats, if you are into this sort a thing. She is a true artist among western hatmakers. I figured I had to meet her after seeing her work on various heads during my travels, she has really bailed out a few lost cases to tell the truth. I'd sent her a CD in advance, let her know I'd be coming through here...if we made it this far. Luckily she liked it so we were given what we are realizing is a true Oklahoma welcome. Shorty is an amazing person, a force of nature who is feisty, fun and has a heart as big and deep as an oil well. She was actually a bull rider in her day, and frankly, if you think what we are doing is crazy... Bobbie-who works there with Shorty-gave us a tour of the hatmaking process, from beaver to brim creasing, and it made me appreciate the thing that keeps my pate covered (for more reasons than I care to mention here). We played right there in the store, they helped us out with a nice toke and turned us on to a great place to play tonight by calling Sheri, the manager of the best restaurant in town, a steak house called The Ranch. She stopped by and heard us and offered dinner and the gig, said we could play for tips and sell CDs. She didn't tell me she was going to donate a healthy amount to JazzMasters Workshop too...thanks Sheri!

But, of course, as tomorrow is my birthday, (maybe that's why I was such an irascible and crusty crumdgeon this morning) anyway, I treated myself to a new hat. They measured my head (no jokes here please) and worked out the style. You guys, however, don't need to do anything special, just consider the JazzMasters Workshop if you are feeling in a gift-giving mood. Pledges are accepted on this site actually (I promise, my last

Then the rain hit, and hit. Wow! As Bobbie said, "see that? It's like a cow pissin on a flat rock!" (That, folks, is your quote of the day) We scrambled to get Clementine under an overhang until it passed, didn't want to find out how well we'd covered that stuff. The storm didn't seem to want to give in. Shorty let us leave our stuff at her store and we went off to check in to some budget accomodations. We were wet and ragged, but clean (all of us did laundry last night, except Cozy Dog, I think he'd found an all-you-can-eat all-night rib buffet and decided that was a better usage of time. Actually, those were the first words he uttered today (this was in the a.m.) "Ribs," he'd eyed a sign, but there was a forlorn nostalgia to the delivery, sentimental even, I'm starting to worry.

We went to the Cowboy Museum of Western Heritage, a great rainy day thing to do, and what an incredible collection of art and artifacts. Could have spent a lot more time there than we did, but we had to get our stuff and head off to The Ranch.

Time to be a guitar player and talk about gear. You normal people can skip this paragraph if you want. I am playing an Eastman guitar, a company I am now endorsing, It is a handmade arch-top that works well acoustic or electric and believe me, I have put it to the test. We have played inside and out, in hair salons, hot-dog stands, clubs, stores, bars, car dealerships, (what I like about those gigs is the new car smell). This box is powerful, but sweet, and as it is solid wood it will age and get better. For any of you pickers out there looking for something like that, these are really worth checking out, and they are very affordable considering the work that goes into them. The company also donated a great-sounding bass too (they came to arch-tops from the bowed string world, having made violins, cellos and basses for years). Drums: today Mike played a metal basin and cardboard box, (not at the same time) actually, tonight he expanded his set to two boxes, a stack. He sounds great and think of the possible endorsements. If any companies are interested, I am now his representative, so contact me or send the boxes (full of course) we need to check them out.

Back at The Ranch, we ate like kings, set up in the bar and played a few acoustic sets to some of the nicest people we've met yet. That's one thing I have learned, this country is full of generous and warm people who are genuinely willing to go along with a crazy and fun idea like ours, and to genuinely embrace the spirit of it and help us out. Of course, it also has a lot to do with what we bring to the equation, and the effort is always worth it. In that aspect, this trip has been an eye-opener and has affirmed my belief in the goodness of people.

So I wake up older tomorrow, (we all will, just that one day sort of stomps it into you once a year) but I am wiser and feeling optimistic about the future on a deeper level. Happy Day to you all, stay dry, and see you next chorus.

Click here to check out pictures from May 13th