Aha! Iʼll bet this late in the day (past 2:30 home time for me) that folks were suspecting there might be no post today. I am sorry to disappoint.
Janet and I had a lovely anniversary (thanks for the well-wishing, particularly on Facebook, but most particularly an anonymous sung message on our home phone — thanks Dawn and Kevin: see you soon). We let her shop at the mall (me, too: Barnes and Noble had some great discount books — I bought four, including the first two volumes of Bruce Cattonʼs Civil War trilogy — as well as Wilbur Smithʼs newest book, Assegai, for which the old man is back in the groove, at least based on the first forty-some pages, so unlike its predecessor, The Quest). I did have to field one phone call from my crew while at the mall, but…
In the early evening we drove to LeClaire for a lovely, wonderfully tasty, sensuous dinner at The Faithful Pilot, where we spent too much, of course, but also less than we would have if we had followed our other choices — The Red Crow Grille in Bettendorf or Perry Street Brasserie in Galena.
We shared a hugely mounded flatbread appetizer — incredible. And she had the eveningʼs feature, duck, while I went for a beef tenderloin. The chef has an amazing way with strong and complex flavors, and Saturday nightʼs repast was a rare treat (if we had only won the PowerBall, perhaps less rare — except for the beef, of course). The wine was a not-quite reasonably priced Malbec (unfortunately, everyone seems to be figuring out the joys of malbecs, so their prices arenʼt the incredible bargains they used to be) that went perfectly with my meat and also with Janetʼs duck. We got home in good time and sat in the dark drinking cheap champagne and talking until after midnight.
To kill time before our dinner reservation, for which we were early anyway, we walked along the riverfront, gazing across the water at my one-time hometown, Port Byron, through which we have traveled several times, including one memorable stop of their local dining spot, Gʼs, a few years ago. We also looked at the Twilight steamboat, on which I would really like to take a journey to Dubuque and back (making me realize I havenʼt discussed my Twain-born yen for Mississippi steamboats on this venue yet — topics, always seeking topics, you know). And I finally got to see the exterior of the (closed) Buffalo Bill Museum (he was born in LeClaire, folks).
On Sunday Janet got her wish, and we drove to Dubuque for the Dubuque Renaissance Faire. It was small, and the talent performing needed some seasoning (and better direction/writing) almost all the way around. But we enjoyed it all. There were interesting crafts (including a pewter shop where the artisan was melting and fashioning pewter stuff for our enjoyment), and the knights at tournament actually jousted (unsafely hazardous and so avoided at more respectable venues, like Minnesota). Where usually the horsemen/women are thorough jocks barely able to mumble a line or two before riding at the rings, these guys were some of the best entertainers of the day.
I got picked on repeatedly as the audience schmuck dragged into the act, once by the Three Musketeers (who, yes, know theyʼre totally out of period; in fact they began their concluding ritual plea for cash in the hat by noting “Weʼre Baroque” — get it?) to be one of three stooges in a bid to romance a fair damsel. My musketeerʼs gimmick was not to get my name right ever (Edward, Ian, Richard…) and then make me dance wildly. Fortunately, Janet has no video capture on her cheap TracPhone (identical to my own)! Later the combative pirate storytellers made me stand for a bit but not actually come onstage (well, to be honest, on the dirt down in front of the concrete-block-supported benches for the crowd). Although the current heatwave was setting in on Sunday (Dubuqueʼs high was 88˚ with a noticeable touch of humidity), we had a pleasant several hours in the thoroughly-not-the-Renaissance. And then ate Mexican for late lunch/dinner at Los Aztecas (new westside location), which has been highly and correctly recommended to us for decades.
Obviously, as there was no post waiting electronically to appear at 5:00 a.m. this morning, I was never even online most of the weekend (or at all yesterday).
And today, the heat is hideous, the humidity oppressive. Janet had noted driving northward on Sunday how summerlike everything had suddenly burst into seeming. The gods of weather must have heard her.
Of course, today is was back to work for us both (at least she gets climate control at her office complex, and my “office” for crew meetings was comfortably less warm than outdoors). On the other hand, weʼre both looking eagerly ahead to the three-day Memorial Day weekend so near at hand…