Corrales, New Mexico has this great bar that does live music every night of the week. Since I'll be coming through on a Monday, I get a show there. Well, it turns out I was playing for my supper. I was on stage (the open spot by the piano) singing as the last of the patrons went back home, and thought that this certainly wasn't the first time I had played for a meal. Then I remembered the Very First Time I sang for my supper.
I was 17 that summer. I went on a 6-week tour of the West with my buddy Mark. (Who was 16, and just learned to drive.) We took my parents' Volvo station wagon. (Was I a lucky kid, or what?) I took my brand new guitar that I got in April, my Martin D-12-20 (twelve string). We had a friend who said we could stay with them in Portland, OR. We kept heading north till we got to the first campground in Canada, just outside of Vancouver. It was a beautiful spot with a big pond. One family had camped right beside the pond. I took my guitar down to the pond and started playing. The family invited us over and wanted to hear more music. Then when they had their big batch of spaghetti ready, they asked if we wanted to join them. So I got dinner for the two of us from playing a few songs.
I thought that was so cool. Especially since we weren't really prepared for cooking on this trip. (Our experiment with chocolate pancakes was a big flop.)
But singing for my supper is really about people listening and appreciating my songs enough to offer something in return. Food for my body, food for my soul.