So many friends and family members have called me or sent emails already this morning to check up on me after yesterday’s blog post. Thank you!

I wanted to add a little postscript to yesterday’s post:

First, I failed to mention that, before I left her shop, I asked June about her Swedish pastries and ordered some “Kringler.” Her assistant brought them out in a little box.

“How much do I owe you?” I asked.

“No charge,” June told me with a smile.

Though June had thanked ME, I felt like I was the one who received a real gift from our time together yesterday. And I don’t mean the pastries.

Second, many of you have asked about photos of Lindsborg. And yes, of course I took some. You can find them here.

Third, NO – I did NOT make it to Kansas City yesterday after all. By late afternoon, I was still at least 30-40 miles away and I just didn’t have it in me to deal with Friday evening rush hour traffic around a big city. So I got off the Turnpike in a place called Lawrence, which it turns out is a vibrant and very hip (YES! HIP!) college town. University of Kansas is here. After treating myself to dinner in a little noodle shop (Spicy Indonesian noodle and veggie stir fry with peanut sauce! YUM!), I walked up Massachusetts Avenue (the main drag in Lawrence – chock full of great shops and restaurants with lots of college students, street musicians and other liveliness). I went into a bookstore called “Signs of Life” in search of free wi-fi.

I sat in a comfy chair off in a little nook in the store and took out my laptop. A little while later, store staff began setting up rows of chairs to the side and behind where I was sitting.

“We’re having a concert here in a little while,” one woman told me. “Irish folk acoustic music. You’re welcome to stay right there and enjoy it.”

Shortly after that, a guy wearing a derby cap and a tweed jacket arrived with a guitar case and a little cardboard box. He set up, went to the mike and said, “Good evening. I’m Jack Korbel.” Then he started to play his guitar and sing. I was captivated. Haunting melodies and lyrics, all his own original songs, in a style he described as “Irish Americana folk music.” For over an hour, he sang and played his guitar, told stories, joked, and played and sang some more. He sang his heart out. And I was there right in the front row, enjoying every second.

After he sang his last song, he said, “Thank you for coming out tonight.”

I turned around to see who else was in the audience. There was only one other person there – an elderly man all the way in the back row. An audience of only TWO PEOPLE! But Jack had played and joked and told stories like it had been a packed house. What class!

I asked whether he had a CD.

“Just a little demo CD,” he said shyly. “My first album will be out soon.” He took a CD out of his little cardboard box and handed it to me.

“How much?” I asked.

“No charge. It’s just a demo,” he said.

But I got my wallet out and gave him all the cash I had. (don’t be too impressed – I only had 8 bucks!)

Then we sat and talked for a little while and swapped stories about the challenges of being on the road and staying positive when the audience or the venue or the event isn’t what you’d hoped it would be.

A few more people wandered into the store and sat down in the rows of chairs, looking around expectantly.

“I’ll play another set,” Jack said.

And he played and sang for another hour – this time for an audience of about ten people. I applauded as loudly as I could for every song.

Then Jack and I bade one another farewell, safe journey, traveling mercies and blessings, and I left “Signs of Life” feeling once again like I’d received another unexpected, precious gift.

Please check Jack’s music out here. It’s wonderful!

Posted by Melanie Tagged as: grace goes to prison book tour

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