I got a call at 7:15 am on Wednesday morning. This was early for me, especially since workshops and shows weren’t starting until 9:00 am, but I dutifully answered the phone. Geno was calling to arrange a ride to the airport. He and the band got in on Tuesday, as planned, but their luggage stayed in Salt Lake City. They were told to pick up the luggage Wednesday morning at the Elko airport.
I headed in to the Folklife Center, planning on driving the 15 person van to the airport. Luckily, I ran into Carol Gamm and handed her the keys. She took them over to the airport while I handled some other issues (our shuttle coordinator fell ill with a nasty bug that’s going around, so I was filling in until we could get things straightened out, which we did by 9:00 am). At 8:30 am I got another call from Geno. Their luggage did not make it onto the 8:00 am flight. Their luggage, which included their instruments, was coming in at 11:30 am.
Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie were scheduled to perform for the CowKids’ Stampede at 10:00 am.
We couldn’t disappoint 900 kids, of course. So I got on the phone to find three instruments: bass guitar, single-note accordion, and frottoir, the washboard. First I called Mike Polise, of Polise Music. He had a piano accordion and bass guitar. Easy. Geno said he could play any kind of accordion, so we were set there.
So then I had to find a washboard. Sure, Elko is a town that holds on to its past, but where was I going to find a washboard at 8:30 in the morning?
Luckily for me, Rori Holford, who helps with the exhibits, remembered seeing one at Cowboy Joe. She called over there to see if we could borrow the washboard. The women working at Cowboy Joe were gracious enough to lend us their antique washboard.
The look on Demetric Thomas’s face was priceless when I walked in with a washboard. Carol ran to get some spoons and Darryl Guillory (Geno’s neighbor) found some rope. A frottoir was born!
Mike Polise dropped off the bass guitar and the accordion, and then ran back home to grab some drumsticks. In the meanwhile, Geno had decided to play the keyboard, and Colin, the sound engineer, set it up on stage in less than seven minutes.
900 kids were treated to the show of the year, and the show even started on time! Many thanks to Mike Polise and Cowboy Joe.
The 27th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is off to a great start! Thanks for being here, and enjoy the show!
P.S. All the luggage came in on the 11:30 am flight.