$120 Coincidence? You Decide.

No riveting stories this week about brushes with greatness, or anything photographically related. Instead, a simple, short anecdote about how music saves the day.

So last night, after a stressful week worrying about finances, I went out to cut my grass in hopes of relieving some stress. Once finished, I came back inside, showered, made some dinner, and settled in for the night with some comfy clothes and my laptop. I was feeling particularly lousy – emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent. So the relaxing evening at home seemed to fit the bill.

Just as I had mentally subscribed to an evening of nothing, my phone rang. The ID on my iPhone said “Dave Stella”, my guitar playing friend, and fellow member of one of my bands, The Grape Smugglers. I figured he was calling about scheduling the next rehearsal for the band. Instead, he told me that the regular bass player for his other band, Dry Bones Revival, had a family emergency and would not be able to make that night’s gig at The Village Idiot in Maumee. He asked if I was available to fill in with them that night, as they had run out of other options. To be honest, my initial feeling was to say, “Sorry, no. I’m really not feeling well.”  But within a millisecond, my brain flip-flopped and said yes. I figured that a night of playing music might take my mind off of my worries, and the money wouldn’t hurt, either.  Now keep in mind, this is 9pm when I’m getting the call, and the gig started in about 45 minutes at a venue 25 minutes away.

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
A large mounted print of the iconic Jim Marshall photo of Johnny Cash leaned up against the wall next to me at the gig. It seemed to reflect my mood from earlier that evening.

Luckily, I had already showered and eaten by then, and most of my gear was already loaded into the car. So I threw on some jeans and a decent shirt and headed off to Maumee. After a quick stop at my office to pick up my basses, I made my way through the fading daylight. I arrived at “The Idiot”, unloaded my gear, and got myself ready to play. Fortunately, some of the other band members were still finishing setting up their gear, so I took a couple deep breaths to try to relax.

Fortunately, the gig went pretty smoothly, and the crowd was awesome. Soon, I was immersing myself in the music and starting to forget about my troubles. Afterwards, we packed up our gear, and waited to get paid. When band leader Bobby May passed out the pay for the night, I was thinking I might get $60 or $70 bucks for the night. To my surprise, Bobby handed me $120 for my share – apparently, the bar’s cover charge added up nicely, thanks to all folks who came out to hear us.

This morning, I reviewed our limited bank balances, and determined that I would put the previous night’s pay to good use by doing some Krogering. The refrigerator had been looking pretty bare lately. So as I made my way through the store shelves, I kept an approximate running total in my head, trying not to exceed my available funds.  As the checkout clerk  totaled up my haul, I held my breath. And the final tally for the groceries?

Exactly $120.00.  I was stunned by the fact that about twelve hours earlier, I was stressing about how I would be able to cover all the current bills and still put food on the table. Then out of nowhere, I landed a gig that paid exactly what I would need to get over another financial hurdle.  So, depending on your belief system, this was either a freaky coincidence, or something much bigger. My money is on the latter, as this is not the first time I have been shown a path through the financial minefield, at the last possible moment.