Folk Off! Sep25

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Folk Off!

More often than not, when we arrive in a town and grab the local newspaper to see what’s going on, we find out that some fun thing has either just ended right before we arrived, or it starts the day after we leave. Allison decided early on that we had a bit of a timing jinx on our heads. Missing something by a month or even a full week didn’t feel so bad, but all the one day misses got under her skin.

In the beginning of the trip that was cause for a pure mini-fit. The hapless paper or magazine that had delivered the bad news would be thrown to the floor punctuating a cry of “You’ve got to be kidding me!” or “We’ve missed it AGAIN!” But as the trip progressed, the fits slowly ebbed into small ruffles and now the discovery of a missed event simply gets a smile, a smile whose corners are weighted down ever so slightly by a hint of disappointment.

IMG_2509 We have certainly grown, smoothed out our sharp edges and found more patience and gratitude, but I think it’s still a challenge for Allison to know, or even just to feel, like she might have missed out on something. That’s the secret whispered fear in her mind that keeps her huffing and puffing on the hamster wheel in life, driving her to fill our days with all the top sights she’s read about for a particular town. I used to wish for her that she could care less, to roll with life more loosely because I didn’t want her to suffer those pinches of regret when we missed something by a day. But when you care about something, when it matters to you, it has power – power for both disappointment and joy. So on the flip side, being in the right place at the right time creates a burst of perfect elation for the person I love – and I realize that it’s all OK. [So keep the whisper babe, keep the joy, and I’ll be here to cheer you up when you get disappointed.]

Elation, we had elation in Sioux Falls! Ali found out that the Folk Off! was happening at a local winery on the Friday night before we left. Wine, food trucks and live music is the trifecta of glee for Allison Meyer. Add in perfect weather and we had all the ingredients needed for a wonderful evening.

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If you can believe it, the night got even better because there were chickens roaming around and a friendly warm kitty that sat on Allison’s lap for a few songs. However, I guess South Dakota isn’t exactly known for wine and sadly, after tasting everything the Strawbale Winery had to offer, just one sweet wine made the cut. (Californians – enjoy your wine – you have the best there is.) Luckily, they were also selling a couple of local beers and the two food trucks on hand were a pretty awesome combination – wood-fired pizza with a yummy, thin, crispy crust and homemade ice cream.

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Red barns and sunflowers around us, full bellies and a soft kitty to pet, and… music. Did I mention that the Folk Off was for local song writers. They played their own songs they’d written and let’s just say that the quality of the music matched the quality of the wine, until a young woman took the stage. She’d just moved back to her home town of Sioux Falls from Nashville, TN. She didn’t say as much, but it seemed like she’d been away for a few years trying to break into the music business and had finally given up the dream and moved home. She talked about how much she missed South Dakota, how glad she was to be back, but there was a tiny shadow of defeat in her voice.

She was amazing! Her lyrics were so creative, sometimes sad, but often funny, poking fun at life and herself – beautiful guitar, rich voice, amazing. She was a star. Even though I had no idea what the real story was, my heart broke a little to think about that day she decided to come home, so under my breath, I said a little encouragement prayer.

Passions don’t always turn into what we hope them to be, but stay grateful because you are truly, deeply talented. Keep writing and singing about your life, because I feel your joy there and keep caring about your music even though it has the power to disappoint you.

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