116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A day ago a doe and her twin newborn fawns hung out on my front lawn for a good while. Within hours of their birth these tiny creatures with long, balletdancer legs are up on their hoofs, running pell-mell around the yard. My first sighting of a newborn was more than a week ago when I scared one in a ditch as I was passing. For a brief second her legs seemed to keep pace with my car, and I prayed she didn’t veer onto the road. She didn’t.
A similar thing happened as I was driving down my lane to the garage. I scared a wild turkey in the field in front of my house. She noisily took flight and glided ever-so-gracefully next to my car for a bit, disappearing into the woods. One of the beautiful things about living in the country is that these encounters are common and you begin to realize fellow travelers are not always people.
Kind people often ask me about another of my traveling companions, my naughty cat Luna, so allow me to offer up a new story. She’s on my lap as I type this and I’ve lost feeling in my right leg. That’s not the story. In my living room I have a couple of Fender guitars resting on stands near the front windows. Yesterday I watched as Luna jumped onto a windowsill, stretched her cute little noodle neck, and began licking the back side of the neck of my Jazz Bass, which explained why it felt a bit sticky recently. What kind of cat does that?
I often think about music, and not always when I expect to. I have not watched an NBA game on television since Michael Jordan retired his jersey and long shorts, but the other night I checked out the NBA Finals because I wanted to see this Curry guy that folks have been talking about.
Anyway, during a short timeout the cameras stayed on the players and the network began blasting the band Steppenwolf’s big hit “Born to Be Wild,” from 1968! It took me back to the late 1960s when a beautiful girl with a bit of Tabu behind her ears joined me at a Steppenwolf concert. I was more interested in her than the band. You see, I was in love. Still am.
“The time is now. The day is here.” Those are lyrics from a song titled “One Day More” from the long-running musical Les Miserables or as the cool people call it, Les Mis. The first time I heard the song was in London in 1985. I was in the audience for the musical in the Palace Theatre about a month after its opening, and I was with the same beautiful girl, now a beautiful woman. The show was breathtaking, transformative and, like today’s Hamilton, it absolutely changed the experience of live musical theater.
Anyway, the point of all of this is that recently I unexpectedly heard the song again. I had picked up a medium vanilla latte at a Starbucks and as I headed for the automatic doors I could hear a young male barista singing portions of “One Day More.” A young female barista joined in and a third barista could be heard laughing, laughing like this was the best thing to have crossed her path in a long while. I briefly considered joining in, but this was a young person’s bit of public theater, and it was both brilliant and sublime. I’ve never had a better latte.
Kurt Ullrich lives in rural Jackson County. His book “The Iowa State Fair” is available from the University of Iowa Press.