January 5th, 2006

A name out of context

It is interesting how the brain works when it encounters something totally out of context. This morning as I drove in I heard the KPLU announcer mention that today was the 45th birthday of singer Iris Dement. Naturally, given the day, I was interested in that fact. I also knew that the name Iris Dement should mean something to me, but I couldn't make any sense of it. For the next forty-five minutes I mulled over the unusual name and wondered why I knew I SHOULD KNOW it. Gradually, I put it into my own historical context, then suddenly it all came together.

First, the name connected with summer, specifically summer evenings. Then I connected it to evenings at the cabin in Wisconsin. Then I remembered hearing her sing on the radio on warm summer nights. Then I remembered the voice of Garrison Kieler saying her name, then I recalled the Chautauqua show from the shore of Lake Superior and the announcer introducing her set. Bingo, the quality of her voice and style were back with me. She appears on both programs and is a sort of north woods folk singer. She sings under the tents on summer nights. She has a sweet, natural voice. And she has the same birthday as yours truly!

It took that long for me to take the name Iris Dement on the car radio on I-90 in Seattle and make some sense of it as a summer evening radio experience in the north woods of Wisconsin, but I did it.

Happy 45th birthday, Iris Dement.

Heart breaking news

I have teary eyes, so I will make this short: Kris Ferguson of the class of 1996 was killed this week in a mountain climbing accident on Mount Kilimanjaro. Let's hold him and his family in our hearts.