It’s getting dark; they’re still at the wading pool. That’s what July is for. In Fargo we spent our summers at the Harry Herbert Hoover Heever Howland Municipal Chlorine Tank; it had a wading pool for babies and main pool whose bottom sloped off at an alarming angle-if you were small and unsure of your swimming skills, that is. The moment your feet couldn’t find the bottom, you had a glimpse of life itself and the things to come. It also had two diving boards, a short one for cannonballing-which was prohibited – and a tall diving platform, which seemed nine miles high. This was Fargo in the 60s, and I’ll never forget it -the rough feel of the concrete under your bare feet, the basting girls, the machine that dispensed ice cream sandwiches in sharp-edged metal sleeves, and whose treasures were often lost because you poked the treat into the far reaches of the sleeve as you attempted to extract it….
You know what I really want to do? Hit the road. Head up Highway Ten again, go back to Fargo. It’s not summer without Fargo. It’s not summer unless I stand on the old streets and walk around and look at the grand old movie marquee at the head of Broadway and recall how I saw “Omega Man” there, walk past a building that wouldn’t know me from Adam but once held a coffee shop in the basement where I went once to scribble some peevish mewlings in my journal. If you grow up in a small town, your love is inevitably unrequited. Which is why you return, the grey swain, flowers in hand. Remember me?
Now I happen to have four tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert in Cleveland Stadium next Saturday, July 14. I will send them to the best effort to photoshop James Lileks back to the ’60s –whether as a preteen in Fargo or during his infamous Summer of Love days in San Francisco.
Just send your entry to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bonus points for including the cover a Mormon In The White House somewhere in the picture. You can get started here. Youtube entries with appropriate background music –not Kenny, but Cream etc– are also welcome.
And be sure to visit James at his new digs at Buzz.mn.