On Tuesday evening I was the "Designated Driver" for my bride and a group of women from the office. Each month they make it out to a fun spot have a drink, enjoy the food...and talk about stuff girls talk about. Don't ask...I don't.
Tonight it was Fong's Pizza on 4th Street in the heart of Des Moines. As I was walking up former Lt. Governor, Bob Anderson came out, saw me with a camera and said, "So, Michael, what are you doing?" "Good to see you Bob. I'm here to...listen." I'm not sure why I answered that way. I was actually taking a photo of the front of the restaurant.
Over the next three hours I found myself thinking about my old friend Rob Borsellino. Rob was a writer for the Des Moines Register who died several years ago...much too young...from ALS. Labeling Rob as a writer isn't quite complete. Rob, to me and thousands of others, was the conscious of this city. He wrote about the powerful people with little problems and those who had no power but lots of problems.
Tonight, seated at the far end of the bar, I sat and listened to the stories of others.
There was the older woman sharing her "relationship problems" with a friend over a cool drink and hot pizza. A guy at the bar telling another guy about his recent arrest for public intox and his night in jail. He swore it was the worst experience of his life. "The cops man...they were really vicious but nothing like the losers in the cell. I was really, really scared. I mean, hey, I'm white, I've got a job, a good car and a life it was bad, man...really bad." There was "Billy" a guy in a Vietnam Vet cap who walked with a cane and said to the bartender, "I've lived downtown for 25 years. Ya know, they hiked up my rent over at the Kirkwood, not sure what I'm gonna do."
And so it went. Little stories about big problems. Nothing that would make the headlines...it was just...life. And I thought about Rob Borsellino and how I miss his talented work.