Sunday, June 10, 2007


University Heights had its second annual Chautauqua today and I must say for a town of 1,000 we did ourselves proud.

The warm up event was the garden club tour from noon to 2:00. There were eight gardens open for touring. Rowan and I took the tandem bike out and hit them all. They were very interesting; most were like us and have to deal with a lot of shade. There were goldfish pools, comfy sitting areas, and wonderful displays. There was a scavenger hunt which Rowan really got into and submitted her sheet at the end for a prize drawing. She won a personal fan and was delighted!

Triangle Park (which passes for our only public space, even though it’s privately owned.) was the site of the Chautauqua. A tent was pitched and there was entertainment from 2:15 to 4:15. The Polka Dots, a polka band of retired folks, including several U-Heights residents, kicked off the afternoon. Next up was a female barbershop quartet, then readings from the Iowa City Senior Center’s theater group. Then a classmate of Rowan’s and his grandpa recited “Casey at the Bat.”

Second to last (the prime spot in Vaudeville shows) were the “Surprise Golfview Ave. Musicians.” I played banjo, Dr. Mike, our next door neighbor, played bass. He and I played together in our band, “Acoustic Mayhem,” for nearly ten years, before he went on emeritus status. Rowan was our fiddler. We did a handful of fiddle tunes and songs and were well received. Rowan did great, she really has ice water in her veins, and has the classic bluegrass deadpan already that I just can’t seem to achieve.

Finishing the day was Susan Short Gilbert whose one person play about her grandmother’s experiences as a midwife, won best original script at the state community theater festival. It was great!

Laurel says she gets to be part of next year’s show.

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