Monday, August 25, 2008
Woody on the dance floor!?
This weekend did involve some kayak and water activities at my sister and brother in law's cabin in north central Wisconsin. I took the Q boat out, did a few rolls, and had my first trip on the Hobie Cat catamaran. My sister and her friend also purchased a couple Hobie kayaks with the crazy MirageDrive; you pedal them! Those craft did not hit the water this trip however, as the main focus of the weekend was to attend the 25th wedding anniversary party of some long time friends in Eau Claire.
The party consisted of happy hour, an excellent buffet with a bit of a Cajun theme, and a dance with a live band. Woody was at the bar when we arrived; Knob Creek bourbon on the rocks was his beverage of choice this evening. I chose John Jameson, the "Catholic whiskey" from Ireland, to be my liquid companion for the night. The VoiceOfReason opted for Apple-tini's. By the time the band started the crowd was in a very receptive mood. Rather than the usual tired oldies these guys were playing great old rock-n-roll including Cream, the Spencer Davis Group, Booker T and the MG's, the Animals (not House of the Rising Sun), and even a bit of Dylan. Something looked vaguely familiar about the bass player; I also noticed he was eyeballing me between songs as well. When the set was over I wandered up and learned he was a high school classmate that I hadn't seem for probably thirty plus years. I pointed out to him that he had not aged as gracefully as I had and he said he had been thinking the same of me. In any event it was the Animals, with a major assist from the VOR and my sister, that got Woody on to the dance floor for the first time in three decades. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and flew in both the Cambodian incursion (the impetus for the Kent State shootings by the National Guard) and the invasion of Laos. One of the most requested songs during that period on AFR was We Gotta Get Out of This Place by the Animals. It was the perfect storm - Knob Creek flowing unimpeded, the Vietnam anti-anthem blasting from the bandstand, and a good lookin' woman on each arm dragging him on to the dance floor. Those who know this group realize it was a monumental event, facilitated mainly by the persuasive powers of the VOR, and I don't expect it to occur again for another 30 years. He even stayed on the dance floor for Gimme Some Lovin' by the Spencer Davis Group but then the magical moment was over. The testosterone saturated among the group continued to party while the ladies put the brakes on. I ran into another buddy that I'd traveled to the USSR with back in the Brezhnev era (along with the guest of honor), so that needed to be properly and solemnly toasted as well. The next morning I found myself in a contemplative and reflective mood until well past noon. Two days removed I feel it was well worth the suffering but I'm thinking I won't repeat the feat any time soon. I did miss some paddling on Sunday morning but we'll most certainly make up for that during the week and the upcoming weekend. It was an excellent party and a great way to reconnect with some folks from the distant past.