Carcinoma Blues

One by one, so many concerts, festivals, and events I had been looking forward to are being cancelled. The latest is the Oshkosh AirVenture this July. Oshkosh is Woodstock for people who love aviation, minus the mud, nudity, and weed – pilots get their high from altitude. Now shamelessly inserting a photo of my son Tim and son-in-law Marc on another Oshkosh trip:


Of course, not going to Oshkosh also means not having to ingest Wisconsin food. I’ve been many times before and every time I look for that killer place with great food, and every time I come up wanting.

Once I asked what’s the best place around and was pointed to a giant dinner house off the freeway in Fond du Lac (home of the Fond du Lac Free Family Walleye Festival!). But I love meat loaf and there you had your choice: bland or tasteless. I chose bland. The mashed potatoes were instant, the vegetable was canned peas. Another time I went to a german restaurant figuring they must know how to make good german sausage, but it was forgettable, meaning I can’t remember a thing about it.

So last time, I decided I needed to go to the best place I could find for Walleye, which is the Wisconsin State Fish. Note that fish are so important in Wisconsin, you are required to capitalize the first letter. I mean of Fish. Actually the Muskie is the State Fish, but no one can catch one, and I doubt anyone has ever eaten one since the rare ones that are caught end up hanging on a wall somewhere. So after the ‘green salad out of a bag’ course, sitting right next to the instant potatoes and canned peas, there it was – Walleye. It was okay. No one goes to Oshkosh for the cuisine.

I do appreciate the fact that while I’m stuck here close to the radiology clinic I’m not missing much, but I’d be happier if Covid had not shut down the world. These days you can’t even plan, and a plan at least gives hope. I can plan a trip to New Orleans; I might not actually be able to go but a plan at least gives me hope that I might, a target, something to work and save for. And live for. Right now, how can you plan? Everything’s been cancelled.

This may be the first year in memory I won’t be able to go to a Blues Festival. These are so important to me that I capitalize the B and the F. The Waterfront Blues Festival – always the 4 days surrounding the 4th of July – is so close to my home I can walk to it. IMG_0652 It is the largest Blues Festival west of the Father of Waters (you know it as the Mississippi but I can’t spell that so I’ll go with the Native Americans on this one). Cancelled.

Fortunately, my friend Rich just clued me in to Roomful of Blues, a group of bluesmen I’d never heard of but who have been around for 50 years. They all look just like me. You put a bunch of grey hairs in a recording studio and something good has to come out.

When I was a bluesman for Legal Tender in the 80’s, we played a lot of songs about love: love sought, love lost, love regained. My how things have changed. The song that grabbed me from Roomful’s latest album was about something entirely different but of great interest to me right now. Here’s a version by Sam Bush – another grey haired bluesman:

We’ll get through this – and I mean ALL of this: Covid, cancer, canned peas. And when we do, off we will all go on family vacations, and visit our grandparents or our grandkids, and head to Disneyland, to the coast, to the mountains – heck, to the store!

And I will go to Oshkosh for airplanes and hot turkey sandwiches, to New Orleans for everything that is New Orleans, and to every Blues Festival I can find. Maybe I’ll even get to hear Sam Bush or Roomful of Blues, and tip my hat when they start playing the Carcinoma Blues.


6 thoughts on “Carcinoma Blues

  1. Hi Ken
    About Wisconsin food – you’ve never been to small town where my nephew lives. And you’ve obviously not been to their home. One family member a generation or so ago invented this incredible technique for buttering your corn (which grows all over Wisconsin). This “thing” is a stainless steel tube about a foot long and maybe 4 inches in diameter mounted to a base. You fill it with hot water and then put in butter. The butter floats on top. Simply insert your ear of corn and draw it out, coated in a beautiful and uniform layer of butter. Ummmm good!


  2. Ken, as always, great to read your eloquent prose. But of equal importance at this time, we now have Paul’s process to butter an ear of corn!



  3. Oh, Ken. You certainly hit a nerve and described perfectly how aimless I feel, now that planning ANYthing is useless. And thanks for the Sam Bush tune; hope your good doctor gives you everything you need. Be well, Cyn


  4. I feel your traveling pain! We had been planning all year for our trip to Europe, which was to commence this May: A week in Paris, a river cruise with friends, ending in Zurich, where we would continue on to the Alps. Sigh…At least, we know all of those places will be there when we can travel once again.
    Now, we do a lot of armchair traveling via YouTube. We don’t have to walk anywhere, fight the crowds, spend a bunch of money on overpriced food, or fly for hours in a cramped plane, so that’s something, right? (Of course, I’d rather be doing all of those things)!
    Maybe next year will be better. Once we have a vaccine, I’ll feel much better about making travel plans. That could be awhile, so, it’s YouTube for now.
    Stay safe!


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