They started out restrained. Before the night was over, it was high-fives all over the place and Bettendorf's Sports Fans Pizza was charged with Hawkeye hoopla. It hollered all the way to Grant Street. Some way or another, the University of Iowa basketball team over-heard that Sports Fans Pizza (kittycorner from K & K Hardware) had a satellite dish that would pick up the Iowa-Minnesota football game in Minneapolis. Into the pizza/bar streamed the Iowa team, all 26 of them, led by their mentor, Dr. Tom. They'd arrived in the Q-C early for the next day's exhibition game with Marathon Oil at The Mark of the Quad-Cities.
Word got around that all the Hawkeyes were at Sports Fans. The place was bursting. The team signed a lot of autographs, ate a lot of pizza and drank a lot of pop. No beer, if you please. Won't the kids go wild!
The lightfantastic shines! No question, Quad-City Festival of Trees - breaking records at Davenport River Center - is our winter-time Bix. They're already scheming for next year and the kids will go crazy. Grownups, too. Sue Gerdes, vice director, says there will be an immense Santa's Mountain. That new River Center addition is big enough and tall enough to handle it! Kids will climb (or ride) to the top to visit Santa, and then get off the mountain by way of a long, curving slide. "It will drop the kids into a giant, fluffy pile of `snow'," says Jeff Froehlich, of the festival's facility design committee.
Turkey notes: One more time!
Oh, mercy. This is the week of the great turkey note. No one can ethically call it a mystery, but this is the time when phones ring off the hook wanting to know about turkey notes. A strange mystique.
"What are they?" ask innocent strangers who are new to Davenport. Mostly Davenport, mind you, though a few calls drift from the Illinois Quad-Cities.
Do they ask about turkey notes in Butte, Mont.? Of course not. Do they ask about turkey notes in Chillicothe, Ohio? Ridiculous. How about Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Hardeharhar. You think those effete Easterners ever heard of, or cared about, turkey notes?
Well, they have surething heard about turkey notes in Davenport, Ioway. I am a true believer they are a product indigenous (wotta word!) to Davenport.
Turkey notes may some day disappear from Davenport. That would be a good idea, and then no one would ever ask about them again. But for the moment, they are still around (or the memory of them). Some kids still make them in Davenport schools, a throwback to grandma's day. A turkey note is a corny bit of doggerel wrapped in colored paper with fringy edges. The meter doesn't matter. It need not follow a dadada, dadada rhythm of a Burma Shave sign. It doesn't even need the farce of a knockknock. Actually, the turkey notes remembered are quite dumb. The only thing requisite was for every line to begin with the word "turkey."
Turkey blue, turkey yellow;Turkey says you're quite a fellow
Turkey red, turkey blue; Turkey says I love you
Or, more cutting, insults like:
Turkey purple, turkey pink;Turkey says you really stink
Well, you can catch on that no one ever accused Robert Frost of writing a turkey note. From what anyone can believe, or imagine to believe, the Germans brought the turkey note folly to Davenport from SchleswigHolstein. Everything gets blamed on SchleswigHolstein. No one, however, bothered to check out that story. No one ever heard of the Swedes or the Belgians in Moline going for such lollygagging at Thanksgiving.
The reference department of Davenport Public Library, constantly pestered for turkey note data, always patiently answers they have scant information and may refer questioners to me, as if I would know. My only reference is a longago predecessor, Bob Feeney, who wrote a column called Homemade Hooch (timely for prohibition days) in the old Democrat & Leader. He once summed up the mystery:
"It seems to me that the topic of turkey notes would make an interesting subject for some university student working for a master's degree. I toss out the idea free of charge to any student."
Sounds of the city
No one knows the agonizing sound better than Ron Bellomy. "It's about once a month," says the man who runs Riverbend Antiques at the edge of the truckeating Brady Street viaduct in sunny downtown Davenport. There was another crunch yesterday afternoon, a loud screeching sound, when still another semi was peeled back by the low viaduct. "Sometimes, it's like a little earthquake," Ron says. "We're the closest business, so the nervous drivers come in to call headquarters. I've known them to be fired on the spot."
Why can't the city install strobe lights, instead of that lazy yellow light, to warn hapless truckers making a run for that steep hill?