Thursday, August 8, 2013

You gotta serve somebody!

"Although the skills aren't hard to learn, finding the happiness and finding the satisfaction and finding fulfillment in continuously serving somebody else something good to eat, is what makes a really good restaurant."

Earlier this week I had a chance to meet and get to know Annie Zeller Horton, Co-host of  WhidbeyAIR's all internet public radio's "Isle of Arts". Annie has been reading and tasting the samples from The Safety Pin Cafe via Drewslist. I got an e-mail from her a week ago,"You have me tantalized and made me eager to learn more about The Safety Pin Cafe," she wrote. The menu and the method for serving up the story, the characters and the setting for this imaginary place has been an adventure. I was thrilled to know someone I didn't know (yet) was tantalized. 

 "The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.”  - Arthur Miller

"A border witch like myself depends upon longevity for power; early on the journey is often a jumble and tumble affair...So, you see being no-longer-young has its upsides." - Pale Wawae

Annie and I met for a chat at Whidbey Pies in Greenbank Farm before the program aired on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 1PM. We got to know each other quickly in a cafe that bakes one of my favorite things: pie. I've enjoyed more than my share of those pies over the years since moving back to the Pacific Northwest. Our chat was an easy and comfort prelude to the interview. Annie's style unfolded my storyteller's genes which are always prepared for telling yet the anticipation and fears of embarrassing myself linger in the dark corners of my mind. As we talked I noticed who was serving us: two very young people, one of them couldn't have been more than twelve. The towhead youth. Maybe a son of the owner. Before I called myself storyteller I worked with people in front-line service. I never stop noticing who serves and how service is being given.

The hour-long interview was magic, one of those pinned together common and community connected experiences that is unpredictable even in its inevitability. When you, or me, or anybody does something for a very long time you get good at it--whatever it is. I'm an elder in training and get better at it mostly because I just keep at it. Entering the studio of WhidbeyAir perched on the end of the dock overlooking Penn Cove in Coupeville, Washington I relaxed feeling the ground of my being, my shoulders dropped away from my ears and believed this could be a lot of fun! 

Prior to the interview Annie and I had come up with a tentative plan, getting those ducks in line we knew I would start with the chant of permission and asking, "E Ho Mai." Annie asked if I had music on c.d. that could be used during a break, I did, and brought that along. The studio is a comfortable space larger than my Quonset Hut where I write, eat cozy meals and wash up the dishes. I was introduced to Gwen, the engineer who sat me in front of a red foam covered mike, explained how she would hold up timing cards "10 minutes" "5 minutes" ... "The time will go by slower than you think," Gwen said.  Annie jumped in with a funny story about reading those time cues: just be in the flow as the interview wrapped up; no need to choke or jam the ending in.

An hour passed nicely like drinking warm milk and nibbling cinnamon toast. We didn't rush the conversation, but never stopped talking long enough to play the music I'd brought. Annie was most interested in learning about the daily practice of my life -- makua o'o. For the first time the nine tools of the Hawaiian practice of an elder in training were spoken of and can now ride the air waves of radio. It was what my host was most interested in being served. To conclude, we talked about The Safety Pin Cafe the common magic of pins, spoons and cups. The characters and the story of makua o'o's mythic memoir. What needed to be said was, and what needed to be told another time ... well, that is for another time.

Service: you gotta serve somebody! Bob Dylan wrote the words, Etta James sings it in her inimitable bluesy style and I feel the heartbeat of the culture. 

LISTEN to the podcast of the interview here.

COME to the Grand Opening of The Safety Pin Cafe under the tent 
Sunday, OCTOBER 6, 2013
11AM - 2PM
at the South Whidbey Tilth,  
Meet Pale The Border Witch and her friends. Sit for a cup of something warm, in a cozy place where magic is common and silliness easily available. Fold a cup, fill a cup. Listen to music and story.
We will be eager to serve!

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