• Dale Bowman

Music, baseball, muses & Stray Casts: Ramble with the Lady

Last night, while driving home from our usual Wednesday night work on getting Stray Casts off the ground, I somehow pulled a muscle on the left side of my back as I barreled south on Route 394.

At first I thought maybe I was having a heart attack, but no it was just the annoyance of an out-of-whack back.

Annoyance, speaking of which I will, we come to music and baseball.

The only problem I had with the White Sox run to the World Series title in 2005 was that horrifyingly banal song, Journey's ``Don't Stop Believing.'' Well, the Cubs key song, ``Go! Cubs! Go!'' is just as banal and only slightly better because it was written by a real songwriter in the late Steve Goodman.

Maybe because of my bad back, I awoke this morning with a bolt and an idea for a real song for the Cubs run in the coming years, the late Jimi Hendrix' ``Hey Joe.''

Just as a writing aside, I think it is the cental song and lyrics for understanding the relationship of Hendrix to his muse.

In terms of poetry, ``Hey Joe'' may be one of the most violent encounters with the muse ever written or recorded.

The opening lines, as noted on

``Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand, oh I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man''

For faithful students of the late Robert Graves and his muse theory, as outlined in ``The White Goddess,'' a couple lines later show just how entwined the muse is for Hendrix:

``Huh hey hoe, I heard you shot your mamma down''

I think his use of mamma is more than just drifting into a slang term. I think it ties down deep into the subconscious and the deadliest of his relationship with the muse.

I think Joe Maddon, the Cubs hipster baseball manager, would get the ``Hey Joe'' and Jimi Hendrix musings.

``Hey Joe'' would be a much better anthem for the Cubs in the coming years as they begin their run than the extended banal hooks of ``Go! Cubs! Go!''

``Give Us Death or Give Us a World Series.''

I digress.

Two robins bobbed across the side rail, separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, as Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled toward the town pond.

A couple small fish dimpled the surface of the north old clay pit as we watched. A great blue heron coasted in from the east, likely scared out of the ditch by the whistle of the passing train, and floated to land on the north end of the north pit.

On the east side of the south pit, a gray squirrel ran, noisely through the dry leaves yet to fall from tree tops.

``Hey Joe, where you gonna go?''

Dozens, maybe as many as 100, hedge apples littered the path on the east side of the south pit.

Back on the edge of town, above the hum of the dryers at the grain elevators, I heard a few Canada geese honking on the lake to the west.

A block from home two squirrels bolted down the street. As we climbed the front steps, two more squirrels froliced down the street by the neighbor's elm.

There are some wild advantages to a later start to the ramble. More animals are up and moving. And it is still early enough that my brain is still on fire.

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