1. My lovely wife, Marcia. Every day starts wonderfully when I begin it with her.
2. The President and Commander in Chief of the United States of America, along with 10,000 other people who had gathered for a campaign event at Living History Farms, some 10 minutes from our house. After 19 years in New York (where you know the results of 98% of all elections before they happen), it’s nice to live in a place that politicians care about, because we’re not a predictable voting bloc. While we were waiting in the (long) line to get into the event, a woman handed us a pair of premium tickets that got us right in front of the President’s lectern. Then she vanished before we could thank her. I hope she reads this blog and knows how much we appreciated her generosity. Here’s a shot from the Des Moines Register of the podium before the President arrived. You can see me in a red shirt just to the left and in front of the television camera. And below are a couple of shots I snapped on my phone. I appreciated that my view included fire fighters, skilled craftsmen, veterans and students, all cohorts I care about.
3. The National and Chris Cornell, who played opening sets before the President’s speech. It was a nice touch to have them there, and their stage was set up to support the “general admission” crowd that we would have been part of, had we not gotten our gratis premium tickets.
4. Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Leonard Boswell, our elected local members of Congress. Congressman Boswell is in a rare incumbent vs. incumbent campaign this fall due to Iowa losing one of its Congressional districts. The photo below shows Senator Harkin at the lectern . . . while it may look like he is giving us the heavy metal horns sign, he was actually signing “I Love You” in American Sign Language (ASL). Harkin was one of the original sponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the entire program yesterday was presented with an ASL interpreter signing the remarks made from the stage.
5. My brother-in-law, Joe, and his brother-in-law, John. Marcia played nine quick holes of golf with them, and I joined them for a beer afterward, as we watched the Iowa State football game on one television, and the University at Iowa game on another. Both the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes won their season openers, though the Cyclones beat Tulsa with authority, while the Hawkeyes looked tentative in (barely) beating a second-tier Northern Illinois team. One of the reasons we moved to Iowa was to be closer to Marcia’s family in Minneapolis, and we have seen many of her ten siblings more in the past year than we had in the prior two decades, so mission accomplished on that front.
6. Our friends Ed and Jacquie, who joined us for a great dinner at Americana, where I ate my very first meal in Iowa, just over a year ago. I had an excellent ham and bean soup and tempura shrimp dish, with a nice Paso Robles Cabernet and some key lime pie bites for dessert. A great meal with great company. I appreciate both immensely.
7. Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, playing an intimate solo show at Hoyt Sherman Place in downtown Des Moines. Marcia and I had seen the very last live show performed by the classic Fleetwood Mac line-up of Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood in Albany, New York in 1997, and the two things that stuck with me most after that show were Christine McVie’s amazing solo Steinway grand piano rendition of “Songbird,” and Buckingham’s utterly incredibly finger-picking guitar work and vocals throughout the set. Christine McVie retired from Fleetwood Mac and live performance immediately after that show (the other four still occasionally tour), so there’s no chance to see her again, but what a delight it was to watch Lindsey Buckingham work his magic. Without hyperbole, I would rate this as one of the best solo artist performance I have ever seen, as he presented some of his Fleetwood Mac hits (“Big Love,” “Go Your Own Way,” and the always-amazing “Never Going Back Again”), his early solo hits (“Trouble” and “Go Insane”) and a lovely assortment of songs from his more recent solo albums, all of which receive regular spins in our house. He’s still able to hit those spine-tingling high notes, and his guitar chops have, if anything, improved over the years. If you have the chance to see him, I heartily encourage you to grab the opportunity.
8. My lovely wife, Marcia, again. Every day ends wonderfully when I conclude it with her.