We’ve played in bars before where the lights have gone out and no one’s left when the night is over. The dark and lonely feeling left when you’ve just poured your heart out and you literally hear crickets at the end.
This was NOT THAT.
Ben is a guy well-known in Yankton and surrounding areas for his great beer and business sense. Recently, he expanded his brewery to include Ben’s Brew Station; a spacious , family-friendly taproom with a beautiful back patio with table and chairs and games like Ladder Golf and Corn Hole. We’d stopped by the brewery earlier in the week to check it out and have a beer and meet Ben. We did meet him (quite accidentally) when we crossed a street in front of him, and he pulled over to “yell” at us!😂 “You look like a couple of lost rockstars!” Isn’t that the truest statement. 😂😂😂 He was headed to get some work done, and we were just leaving his bar. Super cool guy, we chatted for a few minutes, and talked about how excited we were for Friday’s show.
Since we started at 7:00 pm, we had a bit of time to get some things done. While Jared went back to Muddy Mo’s Coffee and uploaded blogs, Rudy and I stopped into a thrift store next door and visited with the staff there. It was called “Grandma’s Treasures” and really felt as such. There was everything from old Johnny Cash records (one playing on the old record player in the back) to a Minnie Mouse shower head, ceramic bluebirds, Black Hills gold jewelry, fake plants, some wigs, a vintage Twister, oak chairs, and a hundred other items. In a corner, behind the counter, I saw a mesh neck line and sleeves of what looked to be a vintage 1980’s jumper. I asked to see it and my gosh… perfectly my size and for$8!!!
Of COURSE I wore it to the gig!
But that’s not even the best part of going to “Grandma’s Treasures”. Convincing Rudy it was a good idea to go in there was difficult until I said, “There MIGHT be old Transformers in there”. Oh, he was IN. Only somewhat disappointed when he discovered there weren’t any, he decided to make a suggestion to the buyer for the shop.
“Excuse me. I noticed you do not have any Transformers here. I think they would be a great addition, especially since they are 30-40 years old!”
“Oh. Well, thank you for the suggestion. I’ll see what I can do.”
Once we had bought my sweet new jumper and invited them to our gig, Rudy concluded our visit with this,
“Ma’am, is this your shop?”
“Well, I share it with my sister.”
“Hmmm. I just wanted to tell you how nice I think it is. It is cozy and sweet in here and you’ve done a good job.”
She was just smitten with him and thanked him and offered him 3 suckers. She said they’d try to come to the show and as we were leaving, Rudy turned back to the gentleman and said, “Don’t forget about the Transformers. You know, something for the men to enjoy.”😂😂😂
I died. 😂
Nate and Heather had offered to introduce us to elk meat by way of a bbq at their home. Since they said the 2 magic words, “meat” and “bbq”, how could we refuse? I am SO GLAD WE WENT!!!
We first got a little tour. They have chickens. 33 to be exact. But this sweet muppet-looking lady was my favorite!
After two shows for our new and return Yankton fans, the pressure was on to really bring it for this last show. We came out of the gate strong with “Snow”, an ironic nod to the oppressive heat SD typically has in the summers. Luckily, it was breezy and only in the “mild Hades” temps. The patio began to fill up. We saw the lady from “Grandma’s Treasures”! We saw the barista from “Muddy Mo’s”! Almost everyone who saw us at the first gig, AND second, were now here for the third! Because the patio seems to be set up more for game play, people were even bringing their own chairs so they could stay for the whole show. The love bouncing back at us was palpable. The owner, Ben, said he’d never seen the place so full. At one point, he counted over a hundred people. And it kept going!
That’s the magic of the small-town. Word travels quickly. So, if they like you, chances are, everyone will hear about it and they’ll ALL like you! We’re fortunate to not know what would happen if they didn’t like us!😂
Obviously, they all loved Rudy. This show, people came ready to tip him, bring him presents, and shower him with love. I think he walked away with $30, two new stuffies, and several pockets stuffed full of candy. He even turned a small Nerds box into a tiny coffin for a cicada big that he found dead.
One of my favorite parts about this show was actually getting Rudy to come out front and sing with me. He’s used to being on the stage, between his dad and me, but I pulled him out front and it was awesome! He’s even taking more solo spots in “Happy Day” now. You can imagine how joyful I am. He said, “Wow! If I can make $30 at every show, I will have enough money for “XYZ toy” that he’s wanting right now. Then we had to have the talk about doing it without expectations and because you love it. The money won’t always come in like that. You can’t be disillusioned by it or begin to get greedy. You will be disappointed quickly…
Of course Fred was at every gig. I’m actually surprised he was off Rudy’s neck for this one.
So, as our last night in Yankton drew to a close, we felt a darkness begin to surround us. Not sadness (although there was plenty of that), but literal darkness. Apparently, the outside lights weren’t working. So, around 9:15, we were struggling to see our audience…or each other…or our instruments!! I mentioned it on the microphone, and before we got into the next tune, we had 2 trucks pull up and turn their headlights onto us!!! It was epic!! Best stage lighting ever!
Blinded by the love and the lights, we closed our night with our favorite, “Leather Life” and meant every word.
Jared and I had been in discussions earlier in the day about what a difference it makes when you truly BELIEVE in what you are singing about. When you can perform fearlessly, with no walls or barriers between you and the audience. It’s a vulnerability that scares some performers. We see it all the time. Excellent talent, no connection. It was just enough of a reminder for us both to remember to really dig in and put ourselves into our art as much as we could. And it paid off.
We performed a brand new song of ours called “Broken”. A ballad about the lingering pain of a break up, and the remnants of a first true love. I had a man approach me and he tried to say thank you. As he choked on his words and tears began to stream down his face, I threw my arms around him. I completely knew his hurt. I understood him in that moment fully. He told Jared that it shook something awake in him. It was a connection only realized because we refused to hold back. Whatever we put out there, we did so 100%. How lucky are we that we GET to do that and connect with human spirits in that way.
But, all good things must come to an end and our night was over in Yankton, but we still had an hour or so to drive, just to take advantage of the last bits of caffeine in our blood and cut down on the drive for tomorrow. So we needed to get moving. We FINALLY got a picture with our amazing host family, Nate and Heather💖💖💖 They treated us like family and honored guests and we can’t wait to show them Tacoma and return the hospitality. If they ever want to visit, they have a home with us!
Rudy left Yankton with many treasures, but we all left with waaaay more than that. We left remembering yet again, exactly why we do what we do. We left with fulfilled purpose and renewed spirits. We left with hearts full of love and acceptance from a town most people barely know the name of. We were humbled and overwhelmed. Thank you, Yankton. 💖