Early Ro (eleven): Year Twelve – Illowa Symphony

This is the third in a series of background posts about Ro’s twelfth year.

It is the end of June, 1994, and since Mike and Ro both liked breakfast foods, and since they were eating alone tonight, for dinner Mike had made them from-scratch waffles.

“Where’s mom this trip?” Ro had asked as they sat down at the dining room table and started their meal.

Kate, the founder and president of Kate Delahanty Design (KDD), a commercial interior design firm, had over the last couple of years been going out of town more and more frequently checking on the progress of current projects and/or making contacts for new projects: With almost half the year yet to go she had proudly shared with the family they were on track to bill out more than a million dollars.

Her not quite two-year old red Ford Explorer – which in a few years Ro would be given as her first car − already had nearly forty thousand miles on it.

“Peoria,” Mike said. “She just landed a new client, the Wynd Brothers from Des Moines. They’re building a big apartment complex in Peoria and her firm is doing the central clubhouse and office building.”

What none of them knew at the time was that over the years the Wynds would build major apartment complexes in Madison, Wisconsin; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; several in the Chicago area; and one on the west edge of Lee’s Landing, all of which KDD would do the clubhouses for, and the latter one being where Ro would eventually have her own apartment.

“Is Patrick dating Kendra?” Mike asked, changing the subject. Patrick, Ro’s older brother by two years, had called earlier to say he wouldn’t be home for dinner as he was out on the river water skiing with the Nolans, family friends of the Delahanties. Kendra Nolan was a ninth grade classmate of Patrick’s.

“No, they’re just friends. I think Kendra’s sort of dating Clay Holt. He’s a wrestler and she kind of goes for the jocks.”

“Ah. Just wondering. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of Patrick’s friends and girlfriends,” Mike said. Patrick took after his mother; he was very social and very charming and had lots of friends (and girlfriends).

Ro just rolled her eyes in agreement. She was the opposite side of the coin from her brother; she had just a couple of close friends and never even considered the idea of starting to date.

With one of his typically devilish Irish grins, Mike reached across the table to a pile of mail, pulled out a colorful oversize brochure and slid it toward Ro. She recognized the Illowa Symphony Orchestra’s stylized G clef logo on the front below a large headline; “1994-’95: Our Eighty-First Season.”

The Illowa Symphony Orchestra gave six concerts a year, in October. November, December, February, March and April, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon. Mike had been going to an occasional Sunday afternoon concert, depending on the program, for almost ten years. Ro had been accompanying him for the last two years.

Flipping open the brochure, he started reading the highlights of the season’s programs: “Look, they’re doing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and the Ninth.” He didn’t have to specify he was talking about Beethoven’s great Ninth Symphony; while there were lots of various composer’s ninth symphonies, there was only one “the Ninth.”

Thinking they were still in the “one or two concerts a year” mode, Ro said, “It’s hard to choose between Gershwin, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.”

Mike smiled mysteriously. “What if you didn’t have to? Maybe we could go to all of them.”

Ro frowned, not quite understanding yet.

Then Mike explained: “They’re having a special promotion. If you buy a season ticket for Sunday, you can get a second one for half price. How would you feel about going on a regular date with your old man?”

His daughter’s huge grin was all the answer Mike needed. And that was the beginning of a regular father-daughter “date” tradition that would endure for a dozen years.

(C) 2017 Dave Lager