Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ken Salwey

On a recent evening, John & I went to downtown Davenport, Iowa -- to the grand old "Capitol Theater".
The local comunity college was sponsoring a special event -- "Ken Salwey, the last River Rat".
We went to the early show -- and had no idea what to expect. There was a $5 admission charge.
Hey -- just going to the Capitol Theater was quite a thrill. As a wild teenager -- this is where I saw "Sonny & Cher" in concert. It still looks great to me -- with the neo-classical ceiling painting and elaborate chandeliers.

I digress...

Kenny Salwey lived as a hermit on the Mississippi River for 28 years. And, the BBC came over her and made a documentary about him. I guess the film has been on PBS, although we hadn't seen it before last night.

With his cane, Kenny came on stage and introduced himself -- then the film. The documentary was an hour long, then Kenny came back on stage to answer questions.

WHAT AN INTERESTING STORY. Although he is no longer a hermit (he came out of the wilderness to get married 13 years ago) -- Kenny talked about those Mississippi-cabin-years when he lived alone, with no electricity, talking to his dog, fishing for his food and trapping for his spending money.

For me, that evening was about how EVERYBODY HAS A STORY. It is always fascinating to me how everybody makes choices...and in our lives, we encounter crossroads, or opportunities or people, and how and we we take different paths...

For John, it was just about whether or not he could find Kenny's old cabin...

1 comment:

  1. What an opportunity!

    By the way, besides the book shown above, Ken Salwey has penned a couple of other books - 'Tales of a River Rat: Adventures Along the Wild Mississippi' (2005) and 'Old-Time River Rats: Tales of Bygone Days Along the Wild Mississippi' (2009). Probably all three are available at your local library!