Strumming the Heartstrings

image

           Here is Where the Tractors are Fixed at Schnepf Farm

I have been coming out to Schnepf Farm’s Pumpkin and Chili Party since 2000. It is located in the town of Queen Creek, Arizona. You are on the southeastern edge of the Valley of the Sun by the time you arrive here.

The Valley of the Sun (Valley of the Well Done…) spans 70 miles east to west. This is a big expanse. Much of it is now been consumed by the sprawl of suburb. There are pieces of it that are extra dense and urban. One sure thing is that there is a jumbo sized scale to this place.

I’ve done about 800 shows more or less here at the farm. I gained the trust of Mark and Carrie and with some patience adapted my street style juggling act to this audience. I’ve likely a debt of gratitude to extend to the nearby Arizona Renaissance Festival that I’m sure helped train the audience to the game variety acts play on an audience.

image

                    Beholding What is and What Once Was

It is a hot and dusty place. It takes a lot of sunscreen, bug spray and water to make it through a day. You ought to wear a hat here. I’m in the pavilion this year and hard to attract audiences out to this woebegotten corner of the farm, but I can’t complain. You see, I have shade. Shade here is like being happily married. Things just go much better with shade much like it is with a good spouse.

One month per year I have been here. After I retired Lacey and a decade long run we took a break from this gig. It has been 5 years since my last run. Notching up 11 months of my life here I’m knocking on a year’s door. That is one whole year of my life spent at Schnepf Farm in Queen Creek, Arizona.

image

         The Care and Feeding of Body and Soul

One of the investments I’ve made aside from time is the care and feeding of my audiences soul. There are fancier shows here. Bigger stunt shows, frisbee dog exhibitions, pig races and even full sized bands play nearby the tables where audiences gather to eat the chili and pumpkin pie.

Grayson Schnepf is a son to Mark and Carrie. A decade back he was a 10 year old. He used to practice tricks with me. Sometimes he’d come and do a trick or two in the middle of the show. It is hard not to love a ten year old trying hard as all get out to do something for you. Grayson’s childhood remains safely stored in my heart’s favorite memories.

Then, last night gray haired elders arrived with their 17 year old granddaughter. She was first a volunteer in my show when she was 3 years old. That takes us back to 2001. They came to the farm each October to see me again. I had become something of a touchstone, a ritual. They’ve been back every year hoping against hope I’d be back for shows.

Turns out my volunteer 3 year old was stage struck by her helping me. They shared pictures of all the plays she’s been in since middle school years. Then, there were all the costumes she made. And then there was this young lady crediting my choosing her to help in my show for being the trigger that illuminated her path in life.

image

                      In the Hearts of the Players

And that’s it really. That’s the simple fact of things. I don’t get up in the morning imagining that I am going to inspire someone. I don’t see people having their path in life bent by what I do. But, there it is. It has happened a few times that I know of. It isn’t so rare. Might be you changed someone.

A fair example of my show is generally a cheerful thing. I have some good lines. I do some good tricks. When it goes my way, when I can get an audience to focus, when I’m firing on all 8, when it is going as good as I can do a show it can seem to open the door to an audience’s sense of something extra special.

I am fortunate to have picked a job that can make a difference. And when I’ve opened a souls eyes to their purpose I feel I haven’t just done a good days work I feel as if I’ve done my lifes work.

Good to be back here…

PicsArt_10-10-11.44.46

Trailhead to the Superstition Mountains

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s