Daly disclaimer: Folks, I’ll be perfectly honest with you… Last week was incredibly busy for me, in preparation for this week… which will be even busier. I’ll explain what I’m talking about next Monday. But for today, due to time limitations and my brain being somewhat fried at the moment, the ‘Daly Grind’ will be more of a stream of consciousness than anything else. I apologize in advance for the weirdness.
Before things got so crazy last week, my wife and I had some good friends over for a fun visit. And let me say right off the bat that the propane heater and patio lights we bought a couple months ago for pandemic-era entertaining have definitely paid for themselves.
Anyway, the conversation turned to how fortunate we all are to live in Colorado, with the state’s natural beauty and ample recreation, and how we feel — despite having lived here for a long time (nearly 50 years in my case) — that we still haven’t taken proper advantage of it.
Coloradans really are faced with an embarrassment in riches, in this regard. There are so many amazing places to go, and things to do, that it can take a lifetime to enjoy just a good portion of it. I brought up the example of Steamboat Springs, a beautiful, secluded ski town in the northwestern part of the state that my wife and I visited for the very first time just a few years ago. Our friends have never been there.
From there, the discussion naturally turned to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
Okay… I should probably explain that.
You see, there’s a landmark in Steamboat Springs named after the late music icon. I’m talking about the “James Brown Soul Center of the Universe” bridge.
Yes, it’s a real thing, and yes that’s its actual name.
As you can see, the bridge is nothing special to look at. Still, I was taken back when I first became aware of its existence, which was literally as my family and I were lazily tubing down the Yampa River beneath it.
Truth be told, I’m a huge James Brown fan. Well, at least of his music… and his dancing… and his hair. I realize that might sound odd coming from someone of my demographic, but the truth is that I loves me some funk… and there’s just something about the man’s music and old stage routine that genuinely pumps me up and gets me down.
You can ask my wife if you don’t believe me. She’ll confirm (probably with a sigh and eye-roll), as will a handful of friends whose wedding-reception dance floors may or may not have been commandeered by a guy, who looks kind of like me (but younger and with more hair), wearing a sweat-soaked towel over his shoulders and spouting out raw lyrics like “Good gawd!” and “I wanna kiss myself.”
Anyway, Steamboat Springs’ City Council came up with the name for what was then a new structure in 1993. And they did it for a reason that isn’t entirely clear. Brown had never even visited the city, which is a mountainous, hours-long drive from… well, just about anything. Still, the singer was invited to the dedication, and he in fact showed up in a limo that day to kick things off with one of his hits.
“Why a bridge?” one of our patio guests asked.
I didn’t know the answer, but talk of the "Hardest Working Man in Show Business" that night compelled me to throw on some Brown in the car the next day. I was listening to “Get on Up” when the song’s lyrics suddenly hit me like Brown’s crotch on a dance floor.
Bobby! Should I take 'em to the bridge?
Take 'em on to the bridge!
(Take em to the bridge!)
Should I take 'em to the bridge?
Take 'em to the bridge?
Hit me now!
James Brown was always calling out lead-ins to the bridge in his songs.
I’m talking about the music bridge, of course, which was a hallmark of his style and stage art.
Bridge! Come on!
Slap it down.
And round and round.
Up and down.
So now, I feel like I’ve made some National Treasure type discovery. I mean, if this was genuinely the mindset of a member of Steamboat Springs’ City Council nearly 30 years ago, and not just my mind doing some unspeakably strange things (which is entirely possible at the moment), talk about a stroke of freakin’ genius!
This makes me want to run for City Council here in Greeley, and throw out some of my own ideas for commemorative dedications. Heck, maybe it would even draw in a celebrity or two.
Hey, the “Meatloaf Food Bank” has a good ring to it (though it doesn’t seem subtle enough).
I don’t know. Maybe I just need some rest.
Let me know your thoughts (beyond there being something wrong with me). Reply in the comment section or send me an email.
Obligatory Dog Shot
The “John Daly Soul Center of the Universe” archway.
In the interest of time (explained earlier), I’m going to make this very short.
All I’ll say is that the movie Ghost made an impression on me, as did these two’s outfits when I saw this album at a used record store.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!