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To listen or not to listen: that’s really a conundrum

August 15, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

Now I know what conundrum means. Almost.

What I think it means is how do I decide what to do with this CD of '60s music I got at our 45-year school reunion. I never really liked the music back then, and that hasn't changed much since. But - and the but is the conundrum - when I listen to the music, it makes me happy because it makes me remember the reunion.

So there it is. Do I listen to music I don't really like because it makes me so happy, or should I keep a Willie Nelson CD with me at all times. I love his "Georgia" and "All of Me." That's the best of two worlds, in my mind.

There's a man in Livermore, Charlie Roder, who lives in the best of two worlds, if you ask me.

He lives in Livermore, and I love that town. He's started his own business called Island Charlie - his own line of shirts and straw hats embroidered with the Island Charlie logo. Here he is, landlocked in Iowa, selling beach stuff. Or, just starting to sell it, but I'm sure the business will take off.

Because that's the other part of perfect. He's dealing with island wear. Not that I'm a fan of islands, but you can't have islands if you don't have a whole lot of water somewhere. And that alone makes the idea of island wear attractive.

Roder said he grew up in the Okoboji area. Well, I added area because I cannot for the life of me remember if he said the area or in Okoboji itself. To me, it's one and the same.

He did say, "I grew up around the water. I love the water and I love the nautical look."

The cost of the nautical look in big-name brands, he said, "has gotten outrageous," and he got tired of the prices, so he developed his own logo and embroiders shirts and hats he buys elsewhere with that logo.

The logo came to him in a dream. I'm a big believer in dream power, so this is no stretch to my belief system at all. He already had the logo of a man sitting under a palm tree on an island.

"One night I dreamed I was sitting on this island and I had everything I wanted, riches and gold," he said. "Then I realized I had no one to spend it on, to share it with. That's when I added the gal to it."

He laughed when he said his wife thinks the woman in the logo is her.

With or without water around, the straw hat he sells is a great summer buy. It's wide-brimmed, he said, and made from a natural, twisted sea grass. The band comes in several colors, and the logo is embroidered on the band. That's the kind of hat I wore when we walked bean fields years ago.

Some of you may remember Roder as Mel Tillis in last year's Livermore fundraiser play. He sounded so like the real Mel Tillis singing that I complimented him as I left the building. And now I find out he lip-synched the whole song. I've just got to be more attentive.

To do that, I'll have to find myself an island somewhere, sit in the shade of a palm tree and gaze out over the water. I just can't decide if I'll listen to '60s music for the reunion memories or listen to Willie's "All of Me."

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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