Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I'm baaaack!

Hola, amigos! Hope my week-long absence wasn't too much to scare off any readers. But hey... life has been happening and there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it.

This weekend two of my friends came into town for a few days. I hooked up with them Monday afternoon (any reason to take off work on a beautiful day, right?) and met them out at the Sutliffe bridge. This is one of those weird things in Iowa City: there is a *staggering* amount of people who don't know about this place. But ask anyone from small towns HOURS from here, and they know about it. It's a strange phenomenom.

The drive out to Sutliffe is really beautiful. Very curvy, wind-y roads where the speed limit drops from 55 to 35 just like that. I know there are people out there in this big wide world who don't even know that Iowa is a state, much less that it's pretty fekkin' gorgeous, but it's the god's honest truth. Anyway, I had a few errands to run before hooking up with my friends, so drove out about half an hour after they did.

It was one of those days that makes you so completely, utterly HAPPY to be sucking air. The weather was perfect (for a change!), the colors were popping off the fields, the sky, the barns... No, I wasn't tripping. I was happy. I was clear. I felt larger than life. Everything was so vivid. The music ("Perfect" by Draw Tippy, my friend Jason's band) was blaring, the windows were all down, and it smelled greeeeaaaat and green in the big outdoors (even going by the cattle farms... yup, that's the smell of MONEY, folks!) Nothin' gonna get me down, no way, no how, no sir!

And ya know what? I had a fabulous time when I got there. Natch! Steve and Brian hung out for a while, but had to get back to town. That left Kerry (Steve's wife, who is not only a very good friend, but one of the most EFFERVESCENT people I've ever met in my life) and me to our own devices. We kicked back and drank our bottles of beer on the picnic table that was placed on this very old wooden plank bridge over the Cedar River just for our enjoyment and caught up on all the hooha (because into each life a little hooha must fall). The sun was warm, the breeze cool, the beer cold, the conversation lively, and the river just eddied lazily below. We talked about everything... past loves, current crushes (in my case only, of course, since the woman IS married!), our dogs, our friends, our foes, good books, you name it. We probably talked about it.

Eventually we had to get back to town, but what a great way to spend an afternoon. Except for one time (with one duplicitous jerk), I have incredibly wonderful, peaceful memories of Sutliffe. The population is unknown, the town doesn't show up on a lot of maps, but they have a bar (which is, so very handily, right across the road from the bridge). It was once the general store in town, has fiddy-cent pool, $2 bottles that you can walk outside with without getting busted, a concrete floor with a drain in it, and some of the greasiest diner food you'd ever love (but I'd stay away from the chicken livers... not because they're deep fried, but because they're LIVERS). It's also one of those bars that encourage you to write whatever you want on a dollar bill and tack it to the ceiling.

At one point, while Kerry was in the restroom, I found the very first dollar I had stuck up there. It was from 1987, colored a dark nicotine stain, and it simply read "Angie and Michael were here. Thank you." That brought a smile to my face thinking back to being 22 years old and 'in love'.

On the way back to town that afternoon with Kerry, I was thinking how nice it is to be friends with ex-boyfriends. To this day, whenever Michael is in town, it's great to see him. He's married now, a professor at Columbia, and I can look back on a time when he was the most important person in my world and be happy for having experienced it. I wish it could always be like that. Luckily it's that way with the people who are, after every dirty rotten thing you've said or done to each other, your friend.

JC, I'm glad we're friends again. Salt?

What a great post, and what a great day. Glad you're back. 'Bout time.
The speed limit may be 55 but when I've travelled Sutliff Road I was usually doing about 85. Never a cop to be seen. It was usually on those days when I was still working at UIHC, living in Mt. Vernon and running late. Of course I always did seem to fall behind the notorious Solon Blue Hairs for the last leg of the journey down Hwy 1 and ended up late anyway, but the drive through Sutliff was worth it.
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