Yikes! Some wow moments in the last few weeks you try to make sense of. Some news, some business as usual.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita stomped their weather footprints on the Gulf Coast states. The White Sox lost nearly 14 games off a division lead ... and were still in first place. The Bears found themselves?#34;no news here?#34;without a quarterback. And, for the umpteenth time since 1964, The Rolling Stones are on tour.
And so, evidently, are the Cryan' Shames.
The Rolling Stones played to 70,000 fans at Soldier Field on a perfect early September evening. The top ticket price was $450. A week later at Oak Park's Oktoberfest, to a packed North Boulevard parking lot, local '60s hitmakers The Cryan' Shames took the stage.
The price was right ... free. The weather was perfect, too ... late summer warm.
And despite an attendance difference of about?#34;oh, say, 69,213 people?#34;there were plenty of smiles. No WCFL DJ band introductions this time.
I suppose the kicker to these two September evenings would be: The free show was waaaaaaaay better than the $450 show. The little band had one-upped the legendary band.
But, of course, none of that happened.
The Cryan Shames are not The Rolling Stones. That is one thing in the natural order that makes sense. We need things that are larger than life. Larger than ourselves. The Rolling Stones?#34;despite more than a few ill-advised albums?#34;have been at the top of their history-making game over 40 years. The Cryan' Shames, in one incarnation or another, have been around for almost 40 years. Obviously, we need both, the good and the just good enough.
The only thing I've done for 40 straight years is be a Cub fan. (A Cub fan for 40 years. No time off for good behavior.)
In spite of all the self-help books in Borders and Barbara's, most of us will never scale The Rolling Stones' heights. But most of us will attain, in our personal and professional life, Cryan' Shames heights. Which is good. Peaceful. Ordinary. The natural order of things. It's OK to enjoy and not be the best at everything. Or sometimes anything. I can still close my eyes, do Charlie Watts air drum movements and think to myself, I I'm ready if the Stones call. There's a slight possibility the Stones won't call.
Do we really want to believe that in life, with a little more effort, we could be anything we want? Write the next Harry Potter? Come up with the next Google? Play Major League baseball? Who needs that kind of pressure?
There's a scene in the movie, Bull Durham, where Kevin Costner as career minor leaguer Crash Craddock goes to bat. The batboy encourages him with a "C'mon, Crash get a hit." Crash looks at him and snaps, "Shut up!" At the movie's end, it was OK for Crash not to be a major leaguer, but hold the minor league home run record for catchers.
The Cryan' Shames didn't come down from playing stadiums. They always played dances and legendary small halls like The Kinetic Playground. And on a given night, with the right audience, can produce as many memories as The Stones.
They had limits. Hardly any of us are limitless.
It's all right for me to live in a great village, pay the taxes and send my kids to Catholic school. I hear the Farmers' Market is good, and one of these days I'll get to it. I'll never hit a game-winning home run, but one of these days I'll actually tour a Frank Lloyd Wright house, not just drive by. I'll never make a Star Wars blockbuster, but I will master iMOVIES on my Apple computer. I think.
The small stuff moving you forward can be endless. Endless. Sigh. And that makes sense. It's the way it should be.
Anyway, since The Rolling Stones are still touring, I figure Time Is On My Side. Plenty of time to get Satisfaction.
And that will never be (pun intended) a Cryan' Shame.