Sunday, April 13, 2008

I am a cracked pot, and so are you.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home
only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to
leak out all the way back to your house."

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?"

"That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them."

"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Snug Harbor

Working too hard can give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack.
Billy Joel

I love my job. It took me months to decide that. I don't especially love cocktail-waitressing, bartending is my preference, but this job at Snug Harbor gets me out of the house, I hear all kinds of good music, and am in one of the more interesting, long-running establishments in the city.

Charmaine Neville is always a treat. She brings down the house with rhythm and blues every Monday. Her shows are packed with New Orleans color, style, and entertainment. She is also a very vocal and active proponent of the downtrodden. She hosts a fish fry at her home on Friday evenings to benefit the homeless. And she always walks the talk, feeding people on the street on the way to her gigs - sometimes ordering it from S.H.

Irvin Mayfield is a great jazz musician. He often has his students, and alumni from NOCCA, a prestigious school for music, drama, and arts, join him on stage. He is always a crowd-pleaser.

And who can top Ellis Marsalis on a Friday evening for contemporary jazz? I love the crowds of music lovers that he attracts. They are always happy with the Master at the piano. His shows are solid and his style is laid-back. His sons, Delfeayo and Jason, have their own shows sometimes, and Jason fills in for Ellis's drummer sometimes. They are both great musicians and attract an eager audience of jazz lovers.

Last weekend, we had a Cuban Jazz ensemble - Juan Carlos - that brought down the house. They were so much fun to work to. I just love good music. I let it lift me.

Aside from the musicians, and regulars that stop by, the people I work with are as colorful as they come. The hospitality industry is filled with sensitive, creative souls. To be service-oriented is a calling just like any other.

The man at the root of it all was the owner, George, who died last summer, 7/7/07. He had no wife or children; just a niece who lives abroad. The operations are being run by a man who was George's best friend. Everybody who works there, and everybody who is a regular (and there are plenty of them) knew and loved George. Several have told me he was like a Dad to them. He would roll up his sleeves and work along-side anybody in the house when needed. Sometimes I feel his presence there. His legacy of humane treatment of sensitive artists, needy friends, and just anybody and everybody is a legacy I am happy to step into.