City of Madison

Former City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

Former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's Blog

My Favorite Things

July 19, 2010 12:11 PM

Once in awhile my schedule takes me on a tour of Madison that reminds me why I love this job.

On Friday afternoon Dianne and I made our annual trip to Maxwell Street Days on State Street. We had lunch at Husnu's, and I picked up some bargains at Lands End and Jazzman. I had a great time, and I'm not sure I spent fifty bucks.

Friday evening I had a cameo appearance in the University Theatre's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." I was a guest speller along with School Board Member Lucy Mathiak. I thought I was supposed to go out on the word "catterjunes," but I was impressed by my own spelling brilliance when I got the word right (especially since I am the Dan Quayle of spellers among local politicians). But, my bubble was burst when the cast informed me after the show that "catterjunes" is actually a fictional word created just for the show and they would have accepted just about anything I said. I was eliminated on the next (non-fiction) word, pheocromocytoma, although I did get through more of it than I thought I would.

Saturday morning I went to the Dane County Farmers Market. I admit that I was in a foul mood after starting my day by reading a horribly inaccurate story about the Central Library in the morning paper. But some iced coffee and a danish improved my mood some, and the market is just hitting its stride in mid-July. We bought sweet corn and a few other odds and ends.

We dropped the goods off at home, and I hopped on my bike and took the Southwest Path back downtown to get my hair cut at the College Barber Shop where owner Larry Cobb has been cutting my hair for 31 years. I keep telling him that I come back only because I'm hopeful that someday he'll get it right.

Then in the afternoon I went to the North Side for the grand opening of a new housing development that helps homeless families transition into permanent housing. It's a project of the nonprofit The Road Home. I was able to thank the organization and the generous donors who made it happen along with $308,000 in City Community Development Block Grant money. While there I ran into Father Patrick Norris the parish priest at Blessed Sacrament over in my neighborhood. Father Patrick suggested he'd like to see me in church. I suggested we play some golf.

Saturday evening found Dianne and I at the ninth annual Opera in the Park at Garner Park on the West Side. This free event is a gift to the community from the Madison Opera. I was able to thank them for that in a brief welcome to the record crowd of about 14,000. But as I pointed out to them, that's only a crowd estimate. It's the best we can Figaro (there's nothing like a good opera pun).

Rain was predicted and at one point was said to be only a half hour away, but then the storm dissipated as it got closer to Madison. So, there was time for the light sticks. When it gets dark enough during Opera in the Park, they hand out light sticks and virtually everybody in the crowd uses theirs as a baton directing, in this case, My Favorite Things, which was sung by Anya Matanovic, a Madison native. During the song I turned around to watch 14,000 happy Madisonians gently directing the orchestra with their light sticks. It brought a smile to my face, and I thought for a moment about my favorite things.


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