Download Flight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape (Singular Lives) PDF

TitleFlight Dreams: A Life in the Midwestern Landscape (Singular Lives)
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size1.2 MB
Total Pages569
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Document Text Contents
Page 1

title:
Flight Dreams : A Life in the Midwestern
Landscape Singular Lives

author: Knopp, Lisa.
publisher: University of Iowa Press

isbn10 | asin: 0877456453
print isbn13: 9780877456452
ebook isbn13: 9781587291289

language: English

subject
Knopp, Lisa,--1956- , Middle West--
Biography.

publication date: 1998
lcc: CT275.K659A3 1998eb
ddc: 977/.033/092

subject:
Knopp, Lisa,--1956- , Middle West--
Biography.

Page 2

Page i

Flight Dreams

Page 284

Page 139

ents. At twenty-two I was not yet ready to return to school and to
prepare for a vocation. But when I looked in the mirror I felt
acceptance, even affection, for what I saw: my mother's eyes and thick
body; my father's nose, crooked teeth, and loose-hipped way of
walking; the Friebergs' blond hair and fair skin; a thinking woman.

Page 285

Page 140

The Sidetrack
When my parents said that Stan Jackson at the Sidetrack needed a
bartender I had reservations. The Sidetrack wasn't exactly the Robin
Hood Room. It was a single room, narrower than it was wide, with a
bar and bar stools running the entire length. Eight tables with four
chairs at each end formed two lines, one lining the south wall and one
in the center of the room. A jukebox was pushed against the blond-
paneled wall between the two restroom doors. Even the parking lot
was informal: cars parked perpendicularly to the south side of the
building, with their headlights almost touching the gray stucco. One
entered the Sidetrack through an aluminum door on the parking lot
side. Once the fell off the outside sign. For weeks we were The Side
Rack. I asked Stan why he didn't get a new and restore our proper
name. "Everyone knows the name of this place," he said. At the
Sidetrack, the only things that weren't essential and that did not have
to be replaced if broken were the Anheuser Busch globe hanging over
the cash register and the outside sign. But when I moved back to
Burlington in January 1979 my first priority was to find a job. I
discovered through the Help Wanted column in the and the
listings at Job Service of Iowa that there weren't many jobs to choose
from. So I applied at the Sidetrack and was hired on the spot.

Ever since I had worked at the Robin Hood Room I had wanted to be
a bartender. I wanted to serve drinks with a flare, tossing glasses in the
air and catching them, pouring freehand, using a particular shape of
glass for a particular type of drink, garnishing with fruits or
vegetables, double straws and pleated paper umbrellas. I wanted to be
able to make any drink a customer nameda pink lady, a screaming
banshee, a dirty bathtub -

Page 568

But when I cross the threshold into my dream world the ties that bind
me dissolve. Without a backward glance I follow the woodpeckers to
a hovel in the forest, which I recognize as home. I carve a crooked
staff from

Page 569

Page 286

cherry wood. In the clearing in front of my cottage I mark off a square
on the ground and place my wicker lawn chair smack in the middle.
Then I sit quietly, motionlessly. Soon I hear a hoarse, robinlike song
and see a flash of yellow and olive green in the trees. It is a scarlet
tanager, a misnaming since the female and the juveniles of both sexes
are never scarlet and the male is scarlet only during the breeding
season. The bird's scientific name, Piranga olivacea, is more accurate,
since the female is olive above, dull yellow below, with dark wings
and tail. Piranga olivacea comes to my forest in the spring and raises
a brood, often of more cowbirds than tanagers; in the fall she returns
to north-central South America. It pleases me to imagine her exotic
winter haunts east of the Andes. It pleases me to think of how little
ornithologists know about her exact whereabouts in the winter
because of her ventriloquial skill and her ability to sit quietly,
motionlessly, and alone in the high, dense foliage. When she flies over
me I see her white wing linings. This sign bodes well for me. It
assures me that I have positioned myself where I need to be. It assures
me that as the decades pass I will grow wilder, weedier, and wiser in
my forest home, increasingly sought out for my ability to interpret the
ways and the meanings of birds.

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