I almost threw in the towel.

It took us 2 and a 1/2 hours to go 15 miles from the East bay to San Francisco. My compatriot, a 3 and a 1/2 year old with a bloodied index finger from a fall earlier that morning, was hardly herself–crying every 15 minutes and demanding ice cream for breakfast.

Parking was like a video game. Picture an aerial view of 100s of cars in a 12-block radius breaking traffic rules as they as they circle perimeter watching for brake lights and nonchalant people with keys coming out of their pockets. Rolling stop signs was the norm–how else would you get in front of the person who had the right of way?

Then the walk, 6 blocks, which isn’t much but you have to add in rest stops from carrying my compatriot on my shoulders, in addition to a backpack and the dried brush she collected along the way. Oh, and the ice cream break, gathering of water at the bodega, and homeless guy who harassed us for not stopping to chat (so we gullibly stopped to chat).

By the time I reached Golden Gate Park and discovered there weren’t any signs up designated which stage was which, I didn’t care that some of the best bluegrass in the world was at my fingertips. I nearly took off.

Glad I didn’t.

We found a patch of goodness right by the port-o-potties, on the outskirts of the crowd closing in on the Arrow Stage. Upon splashing down on the blanket, Evaline immediately took stock of her toys: 1 coloring book, 6 crayons (5 of them broken in half), 1 Cinderella doll, 1 squishy ball, a hair clip, a magic wand / drumstick, and (to join in the bluegrass properly) 1 wooden recorder, which she plays like a bugle.

She played the flute a bit, colored maybe a page or two and spent the rest of the time using her daddy as a jungle gym (when she wasn’t rocking out to the tunes in her gold cowboy boots!).

There were 5 or 6 stages so people around us kept moving in and out like the tide but we just stayed put, camped out by the toilets just in case, loving the sun, the hardcore-from-Texas-and-Mississippi bluegrass bands, and nothingness in front of and all around us for the next 6 hours.

Dancing and Prancing,


Get To Know Cliff