THE IDEA GERMINATED ABOUT A MONTH AGO WHEN Penny Thompson called me from Ladysmith, Wisconsin, inquiring about how she could purchase a copy of my comedy CD "Living on the Edge -- of Town". She told me that she thinks her son may have run off with her original tape. I told her that I had gone modern and that my manager, Liz Fischer had upgraded it to a CD. Penny assured me that she had the means to play it and I told her that it could easily be ordered on line through Monarch Tree Publishing.
Penny was extremely easy to talk to and we had quite a visit after conducting business. At one point I asked her if she was a working person and she told me that she had been but recently has been struggling with cancer and quit her job.
This touched me close to home since this past year several of my friends have been diagnosed with various types of that damned disease.
Long after we had finished talking on phone, she was still on my mind so one day I called her and asked if she was familiar with the term: "paying it forward". She said she was.
I asked Penny when her birthday was and she told me early April.
"Close enough!" I shouted into the phone. Then I gave her my proposal. Could I please come up and throw one of my pizza parties for her as a birthday party during the month of March as I was not really working gigs at all. After getting over the initial wonderment of that idea, she agreed! I told her to invite about a dozen people and that I would load up my pizza making gear, my guitar, drive up, and make 4 or 5 of my pizzas and then do a 45 minute show for the gathered.
All I would ask in return, I told her, was the cost of the groceries (about $35.00) and some gas money.
We corresponded a few times by e mail but then i didn't hear from her after sendng out a final e mail asking what kind of pizzas she would like.
then I realized that somehow my e mail account has gotten screwed up and when people get messages from me it tells them to reply to me at: email@example.com.
NOW THAT I AM MENTIONING THAT, IF YOU RE A FRIEND OF MINE AND I HAVEN'T ANSWERED YOU, BE CERTAIN THAT YOU SEND IT TO: firstname.lastname@example.org. (I have to contact Clearwire and get this cleared up!)
Anyway, I digress. I finally figured that out and last night was the night! Now, I am going to be very forthright here. I didn't really know Penny or anybody that would be there so I knew I was coming blind into the situation.
After arriving -- within thirty seconds, I knew i had found my kind of folks and we were going to have a lot of fun together.
I can't remember who it was, but one of the guests, upon arriving and looking over my Scion xB in the driveway, came in and said: "who drives the toaster in the driveway?"
I ended up making six (or was it seven?) pizzas, leaving the group crying for mercy, and then did not a 45 minute set, but about an hour set because everybody was having so much fun!
Ended up doing a couple more songs in the kitchen because the pizza stones were still too hot to be removed from the oven as I forgot to leave the oven door open after removing the last pizza.
Thank you Penny for a lovely evening! And for the more than generous check. That's not how pay it forward is supposed to work, is it?