I raked in more tips after dancing last weekend than ever before.
Hey, not that kind of dancing—it was African Dance! WADOMA had the great privilege of performing at the annual Monroe Street Festival in Madison, WI.
And since I don't usually receive tips, two tips—both money and food—was a lot.
We had a great time dancing, although I have to say it chalks up to one of the weirdest performances of the season. We usually dance barefoot, but October 2, 2010 proved to be a chilly day. So we donned sneakers and fleece-lined boots. And vests, and long sleeve shirts. And then stuck some cowrie shells on top to make it look African, which it did not, and we are not, so it was a bit of a stretch.
It was a very family-friendly performance. Many of the kids in the audience decided that they would also like to perform, and danced their way onto the stage. Every once in a while we had to scoot them over so we would not kick them. I think they did a better job of capturing the audience attention than we did.
My husband, Drummer Man, and I often bring our two kids, King of the Mountain and Queen of the World, to these performances, and usually they do a good job of “letting” me perform. But not this day. Queen Fiona clung to my leg, oblivious to the jostling as I danced. King Jarra mouthed, mid-performance, “I'm thirsty! Mooooom! I'm thirsty!” I tried to mouth back, “Wait!” but it was lost on the back of his head as he turned to climb a wall after a friend. Queen Fiona returned to her post at my leg and whispered, “I have to pee.” We are smack in the middle of our coupe decaler number. But professional I am, and as I continue to dance I ask my friend, who is seated about 12 inches from my nose, to take her. Whew!
I guess our performance earned the generous tip one youngster gave me. As she handed me a shiny nickle, she whispered, “You dance beautifully.” I love that girl. It made my day.
The icing on the cake was the large hunk of Maitake (Hen of the Woods) mushrooms that Donovan gave me. He had been pushing a cart loaded with ruffled-edged mushrooms around, selling them for $12/pound. I never, ever experiment with mushrooms, but these beauties were handed to me. Did he know what that meant to me? He instructed me to soak them in salt water, then simply saute in butter with salt, pepper. I didn't want any of the mushrooms to go to waste—the chunk probably weighed about 5 pounds—so I shared with another dancer, and a friend.
The rest I soaked and sauteed as instructed. The first night, we ate them on top of organic beef burgers. Their meaty flesh was like a burger itself. They were so flavorful. The next night they topped homemade pizza. The favorite? A flame-grilled pie topped with homemade sauce from golden tomatoes, the Hen of the Woods and provolone cheese. The one pictured here has olive oil, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Simply delicious.
Earning these tips, weird as they were, gave me such a feeling of love that the chill of the October air just seemed to disappear.