Most musicians do not earn big bucks. The music profession is a lot of fun and a challenging one, but it rarely offers huge financial reward. I work more gigs than anyone I know, but while supporting a family of five, it's tough to accumulate a lot of extra cash to throw around on such things as extravagant vacations.
Last week Sharon, Melody, Michelle, and Matthew met my parents at Myrtle Beach to vacation. I determined that we could not afford for me to miss the nine scheduled gigs conflicting with the dates of the vacation, so I stayed home and worked while they enjoyed the beach and seafood. I'm not complaining, though I must admit that their description of the sunny weather and tasty fresh seafood made me a tad bit envious. I recall the words of immortal jazz musician Fats Waller, "Shrimp and rice, mmm, mmm, mighty nice".
I have learned from experience that the best way to take a vacation, yet not go broke while doing so, is to schedule some gigs near the vacation location. Over the years I have managed to set up some of these "paid vacations" to such places as Disney World in Orlando, Barren River State Park in Glascow, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Pineville's Mountain Laurel Festival, Nashville, and many more. I have been provided complimentary stays in nice hotels such as The Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Executive Inn, The Peabody, The Brown Hotel, The Galt House, The French Quarter, and many others. This year I did not have time to set up gigs at the beach, but I was able to secure some work for a corporate convention in Louisville. Though not as sexy sounding as working the House of Blues or a beach party while vacationing at Myrtle Beach, I booked a gig to play the Kentucky Funeral Directors Association's annual convention and planned a mini-vacation in historic Louisville.
Dad & I Played At The 2008 KFDA Convention
Dad and I entertained the wonderful KFDA folks on Monday evening, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday morning at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The association provided me a complimentary hotel room at the adjoining luxurious Marriott Hotel. I tried to see as much of Louisville as possible between gig performances. My Derby City excursion is probably not as impressive to most people as the Myrtle Beach trip that my family enjoyed.
While at the beach my family browsed new beach recliners. At the convention I browsed caskets.
While at the beach my family browsed tanning lotions. At the convention I browsed embalming fluids.
While at the beach my family browsed gas grills. At the convention I browsed animal and human cremation equipment.
While at the beach my family browsed summer vacation lifestyle magazines. At the convention I browsed books about embalming, pathology, mortuary administration and funeral management.
While at the beach my family browsed luggage. At the convention I browsed bug proof and leak proof casket air trays.
While at the beach my family browsed pottery and ornamental vases. At the convention I browsed urns.
While at the beach my family browsed dune buggies and convertibles. At the convention I browsed hearse limosines.
While at the beach my family entered a contest to win free ocean cruise. At the convention I entered a contest to win a free casket.
As you can see, our vacations were very different, yet similar in certain ways. They spent money and I made money. They had a lot of fun on their vacation and I did too! During my stay in Louisville I checked out Fourth Street Live, Champions Sports Bar & Restaurant, The Kingfish, the Belle of Louisville, went to a Louisville Bats baseball game with cousin John Ray Wilborn, and saw lots of other neat places and things. Unlike my family, I didn't get to enjoy the smell of the ocean air and the feel of sand between my toes. I did manage to smell a lot of auto gasoline engine fumes and step into pile of dog crap while walking down by the river.