Me and Skeeter was up in Washington fishing couple weeks ago and them fish was biting real good. Winnie and Mildred was frying some up with corn meal over the camp fire every night and packing the rest in a cooler on ice to take home. One day Skeeter, he was saying how the fish don't bite like this back in Iowa where he was brung up, and some guy a little ways off heard Skeeter talking and mentioned how he'd heard a song about Iowa. I never figgered out why he spoke up. He'd been fishing there for three days and me and Skeeter had been talking the whole time and this was the first time we'd heard him at all. He were kinda citified, a OK guy who maybe liked his beer pretty good, but he was going fishing in duds that looked like he just got them, with labels on the outside and everything. He said he did some kind of work with computers, but he seemed like a smart guy and nice enough even if he didn't know much else. I don't really think he was born around here. But then neither was I.
Anyways he told us about this guy called Uncle Bonsai who done wrote this song about Iowa. I ast if he done wrote any songs about beer or football, and this guy didn't think so but he did say this guy had sung the national anthem at a basketball game and wrote a song about the Love Boat TV show. Well hot diggity I said, he writes songs about Iowa and the Love Boat, he must be pretty good. I was already getting pretty doggone excited and the guy told me this Uncle Bonsai guy was singing a concert the next night. I reckoned it wouldn't be anything really good like a Waylon Jennings or a Elvis Presley concert, but the guy said there was even a song about Elvis, and that put the gravy on the potatoes for me. I had to get to Seattle and hear this Uncle Bonsai guy. Seattle ain't really my kind a place but I figured I could handle it for a bit if I got to hear a song about Elvis and the Love Boat and Iowa all in one evening.
So we loaded up the truck and headed off to Seattle. We was glad we done left all the kids at home, cause we'd a needed two trucks with the kids, even with them all sitting in the back. I was driving, which was good cause it meant I wasn't reading the maps. It was bad enough with Skeeter and Winnie and Mildred looking at the maps, but at least I could blame them when we got lost.
Anyway we found Seattle, and the guy who was fishing done gave us pretty good directions to get to the place where this Uncle Bonsai guy was singing. We got to only two three blocks away no trouble, but then we spent a hour finding the exact place. They was streets that went only one way and places you couldn't turn and streets that just stopped, and twice we got back on the freeway when we didn't mean to and people was a-honking at us when we backed off. We were glad the truck is a 4X4 cause we kept turning around in the middle of the block and going over curbs and stuff, but we finally found the place and even someplace to park. We was a little worried about leaving the dogs, Daniels and Beamer, in the back of the truck in the city. But when we got in line we started talking with the other people there, who was all real friendly, and one them said something like "this is the International district, won't nobody pay no tension to nuthin round here". So Skeeter went back and gave the dogs some more food and they settled down.
We paid and went in and it were a real nice theater, with real folding chairs and no bleachers or nuthin. Like I said everybody there was real nice and didn't even make any comments about how we smelled like we been out fishing, which we did cause they weren't no showers where we camped and the river was too cold to take a bath in even though Mildred did pack a bar of soap. Some of the people was even as old as me and Mildred which is getting along up there seeing as six of our kids done left home already, even if one of them is Tammy Jane who really shouldn't have.
Then Uncle Bonsai come out and started singing. He was standing in the middle with two girl singers singing backup, one on each side. Both of them girls was just as good as Uncle, and we all thought they deserved equal billing even if they was kinda skinny.
But it didn't really matter too much cause they all looked happy. Not happy like they should be on MTV. I don't think they'll ever make it that far. They mostly just sing and talk and that won't get them on MTV. They'd have to work a lot harder to get on MTV. But Uncle Bonsai and his two girl singers was talking and he said they sang a whole bunch a songs about a guy named Doug, and I done thought about Doug who went to school with me and was real good fixing up cars but not too good in school and he got banged up in a wreck and all the girls liked him and speaking of banged up he finally left school cause of this girl but he comes over some times to watch football and drink beer.
And by the time I got finished thinking about old Doug, they were singing a song about "Where's the Milk", but they didn't paint on any white mustashes (sp) to do the song and I thought they ought to have. And sure enough they did the song with Elvis in it, and a really purty song about Iowa. That song about Iowa told every reason I could think of that other places just aren't as good as Iowa, except they didn't mention that in some parts of Iowa you can watch football all weekend and still be near enough the store to go out for more beer. But I didn't try to tell them since I don't live in Iowa no more, and it were still a good song.
At halftime everybody got up and there was a bunch of CDs and stuff for sale outside. It was almost like years and years ago when Junior's second grade class done some skits for parents day and some of the kids sold brownies outside. Some the kids made the brownies theirselves and others had their moms helping and some sold brownies they got at the store. We weren't sure the ones who made the brownies themselves had kept their hands clean enough. But it brought back memories that's for sure.
People musta been getting real excited about the songs cause near the end everybody stood up and cheered just like they do at baseball games when somebody makes a good play after being bored off their butts for half an hour. And then Uncle Bonsai and the girl singers done the Love Boat song just like I wanted. It was a real tear jerker even for a old fart like me. I really did sympathize with the guy who threw hisself out the window cause Love Boat got canceled. Too bad he didn't hang on a few months. He'd of found out that what cancellation meant was, now he could watch Love Boat every day, twice a day. That would a been a real happy ending. But Skeeter says, you gotta take life like it comes. The guy done jumped and we cain't haul him back up. Skeeter tells it like it is, you gotta agree.
Well, if that song took the cake, the last one took the fish. Tuna fish that is. I think it were a real pretty song too, but about the second line they said something about tuna fish sandwiches and I didn't really hear the rest of the song. I remembered then that we'd never stopped for supper and I started thinking about all the frozen fish in the coolers and wondering if there were some way we could cook them on the tailgate after the concert without the dogs getting into the pan. And then I thought maybe we could stop by a 7-11 and pick up a few tuna fish sandwiches. Or maybe just stop at a supermarket and buy a few cans of tuna fish and a jar of mayonnaise and a loaf of bread and make sandwiches all the way back to camp. Or -- but then the song stopped and everybody started leaving and I was still sitting there thinking about tuna fish and this guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "really moving, huh?". He was right. My stomach was ready for action.
Well the dogs was just sitting there in back of the truck waiting for us, and we stopped at the supermarket like I thought and I ate about five tuna sandwiches that Mildred made for me while Skeeter drove and Winnie made Skeeter some too and Winnie and Mildred had some too, and Skeeter stuck his arm out the window and tossed one in the back so we could watch the dogs eat it but they musta been awful hungry too cause that sandwich disappeared before we could turn our heads. Then I slept a while and then Skeeter slept while I drove so we could get back to camp that night. The concert was really nice and all but we only had two more days vacation and we wanted to be fishing when the sun come up.
Well the guy who told us was right, this Uncle Bonsai is really good. And so are his two girl backup singers. In fact I'll come right out and say it: the girls are better. They sing better, they were dressed better, and they are a darned sight better looking. They could probably even play the guitar better if he'd let them bring their guitars on stage. But I don't know who is the better dancer cause they didn't dance enough. Winnie is a pretty good dancer and she could have gave them some tips on dancing. Our kids, Mildred and my kids that is, are good dancers too.
It were fun and I hope we do it again some day. I might even take a bath in that cold river next time before we go.
Delburt "Even Elvis Ate Tuna" Dimwiddy