Hanging Out In Rockford: Traveling in time—Part One, destructiveness of Daryl

July 1, 1993

Our hero is fast asleep in his rented motel room bed in Pelican Lake, Wis. Numerous gin and tonics have ensured sleep, if not sound sleep. The Yamaha motorcycle is sleeping also, in front of the little motel room. About 4 a.m., our hero awakes. Suddenly, with no explanation, his thoughts are filled with visions of home. He remembers he has forgotten to tell anyone how to clear the computer registers. Have to call someone to do that, he thinks. He falls back to sleep, but it is a fitful sleep filled with visions and dreams.

About 4 a.m., back in Rockford, Ill., a group of people assemble to hang out together at the old Anton Giolitto Sheet Metal building. There are artisans, musicians, artists and others of that ilk. (Rumor has it that there are also several women from the Surf Lounge and Ken’s Hideaway, tired from an evening of dancing and entertaining the local menfolk and just looking to relax.) About 4 a.m., a group of dervishes (or is it dervi?) gathers on the outskirts of the west side of Rockford. There are several dervishes, and a few derva (female dervi). But the absolute center of attention is Daryl, the dashing, daring dervish. He has a tremendous reputation for spinning and a beautiful new color, turquoise. He is quite the stylish dervish.

The dervi mill around, spinning and spinning. Then Daryl breaks off toward the downtown area (dubbed the River District by the local business people). It is his first major outing, and he wants to make a big impression. He plans to start his mischief right in front of the Chamber of Commerce, where he is sure that business leaders of the community will take notice. At 4:10 a.m. he lands smack dab in the little park right in front of the local chamber. It is a holiday, the day after the Fourth of July. The fireworks have all been shot into the sky. (It was, in fact, the beautiful fireworks display that attracted the attention of our assembled mini burst crew.)

At 4 a.m. Bob Levin and Ryan Petty are not in their offices in the Chamber of Commerce. No problem, thinks Daryl. I will leave them something to remember me by, and he sets out to knock down some trees. Whirling and whirling, he devastates the little park. About 4:15 a.m. he heads east, sailing slowly between Burpee Wood Funeral Home and Olson Plaza. He isn’t as destructive now, as his efforts in the park have knocked the wind out of him (so to speak). He rolls through Beattie Park, only dislodging a few limbs, and winds up for a big pounce high into the air. He bounces off the Jefferson Street bridge, only dropping a few tree branches to mark where he landed and then leaps high into the air once more. It is about 4:20.

Back at the party in the Anton Giolitto Sheet Metal building, the assembled guests are engaged in libation. The chardonnay flows freely, as do the beer and pretzels. A group of people, tired of celebrating, leaves the building and heads west. They are going to Minglewood (the local hippie and leftover ’60s people store) on the other side of the river. The swirling storm of dervi is in full force. Daryl is heading pell-mell, straight in their direction. Undeterred, one of the celebrants is doing cartwheels in the gale force winds.

Daryl is running out of steam (or is it out of wind?) again. He needs a place to rest and spies the flat roof of the Anton Giolitto Sheet Metal building. That’s a good place, he thinks. The departing partygoers gasp in amazement as he lands briefly and then takes off again, taking the roof of the Anton Giolitto Sheet Metal building with him. They cannot help, however, but notice his beautiful turquoise color.

Daryl leaps into the air again. He soars over the top of MedicineMan Studios, just flying low enough to pull off the tin roofing material covering the playhouse atop the structure, where only the night before revelers had assembled to watch the fireworks. Still flying high, he almost clears Bacchus (a local wine bar and eatery) and the Irish Rose (the restaurant and bar business of our protagonist) without doing serious damage, just loosening a few power lines with his wake. In Pelican Lake, Wis., our hero twists and turns in his bed. He is unsettled but doesn’t know why.

Swerving left (our dervish is attracted by the little flag atop the Faust Landmark; it is an American flag, and our dervish is quite the patriot), he bumps against the south wall (knocking loose a few bricks) and ricochets into the elevator shaft of Saturn Studios, a local silkscreen and design shop (where rumor has it there are also assembled partygoers). Then Daryl is tired, too tired to proceed. He has simply run out of gas (or wind). Meanwhile, all over this little Midwestern city, the other dervi are doing their work, spreading their devilish dervishness. Back in Pelican Lake, Wis., the migrant bar owner awakes, feeling strangely unrested and unsettled. More next week.

Owner of the Irish Rose (Rockford) and Irish Rose North (Rockton) restaurants, Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. These columns are also available on his Web site: IrishRoseRockford.com and featured on the Chris Bowman Show, WNTA talk radio AM 1330.

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