Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nokomis Hotel- Prairie Flatlands & Birds

After a great breakfast at the Broadway Cafe, we gassed up the truck and headed south and east. It was a nice, sunny day for travel, although it is getting colder out here on the prairie- so we were glad to have our leather tour jackets today. I got a real buzz from the flatlands and the Big Sky that wraps around you out here. There are tumble weeds catching in the fences and blowing across the road as we drive. Very little traffic, but we're a little off the beaten path anyway. As the roads get smaller we notice great groups of birds wheeling across the sky. I said to Dave that I'd seen something like that in a Hitchcock movie one time, and we laughed- but the birds got thicker! The fields on either side of us were white with birds. They looked like snow from a distance, and when they rose to fly it was as if a layer of the landscape had peeled upwards like a great reeling carpet. This was the most spectacular wildlife we had seen from coast to coast, so we stopped and took it in. Later, we learned that this was a major flight path for migratory birds, and a destination of choice for birdwatchers. Amazing.

Arriving early in Nokomis, SK, we trolled the main street and quickly found the gig. Standing in front of the old Nokomis Hotel we could look down the road, across the flats to the horizon. A train roared by, and then vanished into the distance. I could hear a sign squeaking in the wind. I got on the cell and called our friends David and Jolene (Little Miss Higgens) who live just around the corner from the Hotel. Jolene was baking cookies, and invited us over for lunch. We checked into some funky little rooms, met David, and walked over for a pleasant afternoon of food and conversation. Great woodstove!

Back to the Hotel for a little nap, after which David and Jolene met us to help set up for the evening show. We were using their little PA, along with some of our own backup gear, and it all worked nicely in the bar. By showtime we had a good little crowd out- not capacity, but pretty full. The Mayor came out. The local reporter was there. David and Jolene (resident local rockstars) brought the Credit Union meeting. At least two people drove up from Radville- nearly three hours south- for the show. Others told me that they had driven 70 or 80 km to come to the show. Prairie folk look at distances differently than city people, but we surely appreciated the effort they took to come and hear us. Originally, we had hoped to be in Swift Current this evening. Nokomis was a late, replacement date, but we are very glad to be here.

Dave and I had a ball performing for the crowd. I was well looked after with wings and beer. People bought loads of cds. We hung out. Dave went on a joke rampage after the show- holding a large table of prairie farmers for maybe an hour! He was on a roll. His timing was perfect, his delivery over the top. Another great night for the Big Road Blues Tour. There are not many left now, and we've been talking about how quick the time has gone. We really have enjoyed each other's company- and we've now got a pile of tunes that we love playing together. Yes, we are tired- but for sure we'd love this to go on and on. Dave says he could start in on another 65 dates, and without hesitation I say I could, too.

Up in my little, antique, prairie hotel room I hear the trains going by in the night, whistling off- calling- in the distance. I think I could follow that sound forever. I think I have been for the last 37 years. I think I will for whatever years are left. I'm sure of it. This is a lonesome life sometimes, but I love it. Moments like this. Nights like tonight.

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