The Ottumwa Courier

January 26, 2013

Smart phones, Simon and snow

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — You know you are in a high-tech world when you can’t even find a night to have fun.             

A group of friends was recently trying to plan a night to play some card games. It was fun just watching them try to plan it. Four of the six were on their fancy phones checking calendars and dates.

“No, that won’t work. There is a ballgame.”

“Uh-oh, I have an appointment that night.”

“Nope, I have to work late.”

“Oh, we’ll be out of town that weekend.”

January was hopeless. So, they tried for February. Well, that’s a short month, of course, so nothing panned out.

Then there was March. Oh, it was unbelievable how many events were already marked.

April? No. May? No. June, July, August?

While the four of them tried to negotiate, two of us gestured with our empty hands, pretending we had smart phones. Couldn’t find a date then, either.

Just sad, isn’t it, when you can’t find a free evening just to have fun.

So, what did we/they do?

“Oh, if one of us is free one night, we’ll just call the others and see who’s available.”

Works for me.

• • •

If you didn’t attend the free Simon Estes concert last weekend, you missed a great event.

The renowned opera singer now lives in Iowa and performs throughout the state with his “Roots & Wings” tour to all of Iowa’s 99 counties. Sunday was Wapello County’s turn, and a good crowd braved the snow for a great afternoon of music at Indian Hills Hellyer Student Life Center.

To me, Estes is a draw just by himself. This concert included more with the addition of choirs from schools in Wapello County and the Indian Hills choir.

But, I tell ya’ — Estes can still outsing all the dozens of voices accompanying him. Even sitting down, the famous bass baritone voice boomed throughout the building. What could be better than listening to a great singer belt out “Ole Man River?” He’s surely sung that tune thousands of times, but he acts like it’s the first. Just absolutely wonderful.

And, did I mention the concert was FREE?

Adding to the magic of the music was looking out the windows at the center and watching the snow fall. It may have kept some people from traveling, and that’s too bad. We haven’t had snow that much, so the early driving could have been treacherous.

But, a lovely snowfall is hard to beat for winter beauty. And better in January than March, right?

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.