A little culture away from the nest – Empty Nest, by Curt Swarm



Ginnie and I may be entering our second childhood. We actually went out after dark three nights in a row. Can you believe it?!
The first night, a Thursday, we went to a stand-up comedy act in Wapello. I read a review about it in the newspaper and decided to give it a shot. I had never been to a stand-up comedy act—life holding enough humor for me, and Ginnie had been to only one. Knowing that our pastor was going to have shoulder surgery the next morning, I double-dawg-dared him to join us, pointing out that laughter had well-known healing power. He bit.
This comedy act was going to be in a bar and, being an ex-drunk, I normally shy away from such surroundings. However, figuring my wife and pastor would both be with me (one on each side of me to be exact), I would be safe. I was correct. My pastor drank bottled water, and Ginnie and I had Cokes.
There was a packed house in the bar—a pool tournament was going on (the pastor, being a former Marine, pointed out a couple of custom pool cues) and we had to walk through this crowd of trick-shot artists to get to the comedy stage. A particularly large, long-haired, bearded fellow at the bar—a person I mistook for a local drunk—turned out to be the comedian. And he was excellent. He reminded me a lot of George Carlin. He kept the three of us, as well as the room full of comedy goers, in stitches for a good hour. The pastor aced his shoulder surgery the next morning. Then, he played poker that night, his surgeon being one of the players. Told ya, life is full of humor.
The second night, a Friday night, there was an art reception in Washington for four local artists, my daughter one of them. This was a must-attend function for us. With Cafe Dodici’s, a fine Italian restaurant being right next door to the art gallery, this was an excellent opportunity for Ginnie and me to enjoy a nice dinner out. We were not disappointed. The first problem I had was figuring out which fork to use. My second problem was trying to choose one piece of art to bring home (we like to support the arts). I wound up with a nice pastel of the dam at Oakland Mills, by John Evans of Richland. He has a nice way of making the water going over the spillway look 3D.
Saturday night found us under the water tower in Donnellson for live music. I guess we can’t use the title “Under the Water Tower” anymore because of a trademark dust-up. So be it. We were at the American Legion Hall in Donnellson. If you haven’t been to this venue, they have some incredible music—top-drawer stuff. Then, to cotton to locals such as us, people bring their own food and drink to share for a potluckish feed. Good music plus good food equals satisfied souls and palates. A group called the “Sanctified Grumblers” from Chicago was playing. The three-piece band consisted of an acoustic guitar, bass, and “warshboard.” I had never seen a “warshboard” played, nor did I have any idea how rhythmic and pretty sounding it is. I think I could listen to it all night, and actually did, as it was going through my head on the way home and while I was shutting up the chickens.
That’s three nights in a row for us—comedy, art, and music. We didn’t get home until, mercy!, 8:30, going-on 9:00 o’clock! And Ginnie had to work the next morning! I’m not sure there are enough hours in the day to do all the things we want to do. Second childhood? Maybe. I’m pushing 70. Enjoying life on life’s terms is more like it.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or find him on Facebook. Curt Stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.

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