John Prine came to town this week! Our little corner of the world gets some pretty amazing people coming through and Mr. Prine is a favorite who comes to perform every few years. As usual, we got the catering rider via e-mail from our local promoter and, honestly, as far as 'talent' riders go, this one wasn't that bad...we weren't supposed to be cooking for them, just some deli trays and some very specific beverage requests. They had one show scheduled for Tuesday , which sold out, so they added a second show Wed. allowing the guys to slip in some kayaking or fishing... (good for them! too often traveling performers have to get on a plane and head to the next town, never getting to really appreciate how beautiful it is here.) Since I was off from the bakery on Tues, I offered to do the set-up backstage. Melissa, my delightful right hand girl, had already done most of the shopping so it seemed like it would be kind of fun, and maybe I ‘d get to meet some of the band. I had the kids with me because it was the day before school and we still had a few items on their supplies list to get, plus they are great little porters always ready to help carry stuff from here to there...which is just what we ended up doing on this day! We started by going to the Bakery to pick up the stuff, whip out a deli tray and get the final list for what we didn't have. The sun was shining, one of the rare beautiful days we've had this summer. The kids were chattering (and fighting, let's be honest!) over the next days schedule of events and asking all kinds of questions about who we were delivering food to and why does it need to be Canada dry diet ginger ale and not the store brand? Which, as far as I can tell, after going to every store in town that might even think about carrying soda, is not available here in Homer-town. Given the circumstances, we tried to sub in what we could and left out the things we couldn't. After all this is Homer ALASKA, right? right! So we go the Auditorium with all of our goodies for Mr. Prine and his band. We are lucky to have a beautiful 500 seat theater with nice dressing rooms, etc. attached to our high school. It was fun setting up, we had cut flowers from the bakery yard and put little vases of them out and tried to make it all very nice. As we were leaving, I realized we needed more Ice, so off we went to the store again and raced back to the theater hoping to get there before the performers moved in. We were met at the door by ‘the manager’ and he immediately set about telling us to move everything to another dressing room and fired off a list of things we had not addressed (which were not on my copy of the rider, I might add!). Being all eager to please, I jotted down a new list, the kids and I went back to the store AGAIN and returned to the theater thinking this was the last of our obligations. (All the while Jane and Charles, my kids, are going off about how rude and bossy this guy is being, me, I just want to do good job and get the heck out of there!) But before I could escape ‘the manager’ stopped me and asked what we had planned to feed John for dinner after the show(!) I shrug with resignation and say it’s not on my list, but if John Prine needs dinner at 11:30 at night, I can make that happen…”what would he like?”, I ask. “Manicotti with sausage” was the answer,( “oh yeah and neopolitan ice cream with smuckers fudge sauce and John needs a real plate and bowl and silverware, too”…!) I’m sure this guy was thinking we had some Italian restaurant in town that I could go get it from, but since there isn’t anything like that here, I went back to the store AGAIN and bought the stuff I needed, took it back to my kitchen and made the best darn manicotti ever with sausage and fresh mushrooms and homemade sauce. We delivered it to the theater just as the show was ending. Mission accomplished!
Rather than being paid cash, I had traded the dinner for tickets to the next nights show and took that opportunity to track down ‘the manager’ to see how things went and to gather up my supplies from the night before. When I found him, all he could say was, “it was fine, I loved it! There was one problem, though, John Prine doesn’t like mushrooms, he spit them all out, but, hey, the rest of us thought it was really great!” ...As for the Show...it was REALLY GREAT! And I as watched him stop between songs to drink from his 500ml bottle of Evian (no exceptions!) I felt a certain pride that at least I got the water right!