Sunday, April 23, 2006

Garden City, Part 1

Garden City, KS - High Plains Public Radio

Rejuvenated by our show in Lawrence, Jon and I celebrate by getting back in the van and driving through the night to get to Garden City. I'm honestly pretty excited about it. At this point, Jon is less excited than I am because he's the one driving. I'm the one in the back seat of the van whooping the snot out of the Auburn Tigers on my Playstation. Maybe I created my own school on NCAA 05. Maybe I made the players all Romanowski-style steroid freaks who seek to permanently embarrass their opponents. Maybe my team is undefeated for third season in a row and aiming for yet another National Championship. Maybe I don't feel bad for ruining these players lives because they're not real people. Right now, maybe I'm winning 84-0.

Pummeling Auburn is a good thing to do at four in the morning in the back of a van in the middle of the dark abyss that is nighttime rural Kansas. Actually, pummeling Auburn anytime is fun to do, but that's neither here nor there. Garden City is located in the southwest corner of the State, not terribly far from Oklahoma, Texas, or Colorado but a heck of a long way from Athens.

For most people, Garden City may not be a prime vacation destination. There are no major highways to speak of that will quickly carry you to or from there, no big theme parks, and no one (at least no one I saw) wearing a club La Villa shirt. Most people probably don't ever make it to Garden City, and frankly that makes me sad, for Garden City, Kansas is a neat little town. I'll admit, I'm a little biased because Garden City is the home of High Plains Public Radio and Mary Palmer, the Program Director/morning show host who first invited me out to perform at her station.

It's a long, boring story, so I'll refrain from telling it, but over the course of the last few years, I recorded an album which won an international songwriting competition which won me a music promotion package which included sending my album to 150 stations across the country, one of which was HPPR which was received by one Mary Palmer.

I submitted those 150 CDs to the promoter with a great bit of trepidation, knowing in my heart that most of them would end up in the garbage, some dusty forgotten bin, or worse - as coasters or frisbees. It's ridiculous, but that's my work, and though I don't care if people don't find is nearly as fascinating as I do, I don't want to think that someone just discards a copy like a used Kleenex. So you can understand that when I received an email out of the blue from Mary - one in which she complimented not only the music but the packaging and liner notes, no less - I was pretty excited. She handed me out an invitation to play in studio if I was ever in town, so I quickly got out my Atlas to see how I could fit it in to a routing. It was then that I discovered the horrible truth that Garden City was not close to anything except Dodge City, and all I knew of it was that people were always trying to "get the hell out of there". That's not exactly a "tourist friendly" slogan, you know.

But as I thought about it, maybe people were always leaving Dodge because Garden City was so great. Maybe Garden City was the "Jewel of the Breadbasket" or El Dorado or something. Maybe it was so great that the no one wanted the word to get out, you know, so it could be exclusive. In a way, Mary's invitation was like getting to go behind the velvet rope at the 40/40 Club. I was getting called up, going to the big show. This was incredible. I was going to Garden City.

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