... at o-dark-thirty, as my friend Carrie likes to put it, the Cosmic Otters and a sleepy Jamie, travel mugs of tea in hand, bundled into the car and headed for the Paramount Theatre, where a bunch of Christian ministry folks had gathered for Story Conference.
(Given my professional background, a story conference, to me, is not about sharing interesting ways to teach the Bible, but about what's going in the newspaper the next day and also a little bit about dodging your editor. But I digress. It totally would not be something that needed an Irish band.)
They had a bunch of displays and companies setting up their tables in the lobby, including a big book vendor, who was right underneath us. We hung out in the upstairs balcony overlooking all the scenery and played tunes together for an hour and a half.
Not a bad gig, really. Jamie had the run of the area, since nobody else was up there. We had a Plan B In Case of Fussy Toddler, but we didn't have to put it into effect.
The theater had several amenities for a small person to entertain himself with, once he finished dancing around, eating his banana, snacking on a handful of pretzels and sitting on Edward's lap. We were sitting in front of floor-to-ceiling picture windows that overlooked a busy street with lots of different vehicles rumbling past, and the Fox River, with a big splashing dam. Jamie spent a lot of time looking out the windows, and a lot of time looking at the people in the lobby.
It was some lobby.
The guy organizing the event said he wanted us to "lend an air of theatricality" to the lobby. We were not the only ones doing this. There were people in costume, who looked like they had stopped by from "A Christmas Carol" and "Hello Dolly!" There was a harlequin juggling, a pair of angels and a British police officer, which gave Edward a start.
Best of all? On the landing directly opposite us, a group of puppeteers set up and made their dinosaurs and dragons and monkeys dance to our music. I wish I could have gotten a photo of the dancing skeletal dinosaur.
Anyway, we finished up, took our air of theatricality, made a brief pitch to the guy who hired us about our services as a contra dance band with traveling caller who could provide his church with a fun, intergenerational activity, and left.
Then we stopped off at the Corner Bakery on our way home so Edward and the Fool could get bacon-and-egg sandwiches and coffee, and I could get oatmeal (I have become such a creature of habit that when I'm out, I buy the same breakfast I make at home. Lame!) and within an hour of arriving home, Jamie and I were both napping.