Friday, December 5, 2008

Annual Community Tree lighting

We had another "must see it to believe it" Vashon event tonight. The Community Tree lighting with Santa & Mrs. Clause parading down the center of town on a fire engine. All who want to can get a candy cane or two from Santa and even hug him. I do every year.

This is also the night of Molly's 2nd annual holiday violin busking.

Last year, she thought she would just try it out and see what happened. The concept got her all the way through the fall with her happily (or not complaining too much) practicing holiday tunes to prepare for busking. On the night of the Tree Lighting, she set up her violin case on the sidewalk and started banging out Silent Night, Hark the Herald and others. The results were pretty electrifying. Not only did she make over $50 in less than an hour but she got tons of encouragement and kudos for being brave enough to go out and do it all by herself. I was, of course, hovering near by.

This year we did the same. The night was cold and clear so it was an excellent turn out, lots of people, families out and about. We set up right after the tree lighting near a hot dog vendor. With the poise and assurance of someone many years older, she started playing, a bit softly at first but building as she got comfortable. I stood to the side. She told me not to hover too close but I am there. I wouldn't miss this for the world.

It really is quite interesting to see how the crowd reacts. The kids are drawn immediately and it doesn't really matter what age. I saw just-walking tots hanging out to dance to "Santa Clause is coming to town" and not wanting to leave and various big, cool middle school kids dropping a few coins into the case and saying, "Good job" and "Thanks for the true Christmas spirit". Kids from Molly's grade walk by and shyly wave, they foget that her hands are occupied but she acknowledges them with a smile.

The adults, of course, are enchanted. Many, like myself, could never imagine themselves putting themselves out there like that. I see it in their eyes and expressions as they drop a bill in her case. I shrug and make jokes about pimping my kid but it is obvious that this is her thing, her idea, her show. I am just the groupie and/or manager. I help make it happen but this is not about me.

It was a fun night. She made about $40 in about a half an hour. It was cold and her hands were getting numb. We wandered off to hug Santa and get another candy cane. Even did a little shopping with all the loot she hauled in and ran into some of her little buddies.

When I see her playing music alone on the sidewalk, I get the overwhelming feeling that she will be fine. She is strong, smart and beautiful and will make a good future for herself. I figure if she has the resourcefulness to make holiday money playing songs on the sidewalk, then she will make a creative, productive life for herself. I know, a mother's hope but a very nice holiday feeling.

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