This morning, I’m staring bleary eyed into the computer screen. “Thunder Road” is playing on my I-pod.
The screen door slams
Mary’ dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
I’m jealously thinking that I will never write a narrative that so completely encapsulates not the big story, but a perfect little moment, a tiny shiny sliver of existence. But that’s why he’s the Boss.
Bear with my overburdensome prose. I’m sleepy.
Last night, I stayed up far too late with some good friends – Friends made through Dover’s famous intelligent design trial. Vic Walczak, ACLU-PA’s legal director, Steve Harvey, one of the Pepper Hamilton attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, his wife Mimi, Cyndi Sneath, one of the trial’s 11 parents who believed in standing up for the religious freedom of their children, her husband Paul and my husband Jeff.
As everyone who knows Walczak is already aware, the guy is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. Huge. So, when he learned that Springsteen was playing in Hershey, Walczak suggested that a bunch of Dover folks go to the concert. So that’s where we were. Just a few yards from the stage.
Springsteen is, of course, a natural draw for these folks, those who believe in defending the Constitution. Springsteen’s support of civil liberties is evident to even the most casual listener. On his latest CD Magic, he sings about the past eight years in “Livin’ in the Future”:
My ship Liberty sailed away
On a bloody red horizon
The groundskeeper opened the gates
And let the wild dogs run
Anyway, the concert, by the way, was incredible. And it was noted by the press that Springsteen played a song that hasn’t made his set list in years: “Part Man/Part Monkey”.
Well, there’s a story about why it was played last night. It’s not a big story. Just a perfect little moment. Here’s the little background that you won’t read about in the reviews of the concert.
Every morning before the 2005 trial, Walczak climbed in his car headed for the courthouse and ritualistically played the song. Every…single…day. That’s because in August 2005, Springsteen introduced the song at a New Jersey concert with the words, “Folks in Dover aren’t sure about evolution. Here in New Jersey, we’re counting on it.”
Well did God make man in a breath of holy fire
Or did he crawl on up out of the muck and mire
Well the man on the street believes what the bible tells him so
Well you can ask me, mister, because I know
Tell them soul-suckin’ preachers to come on down and see
Part man, part monkey, baby that’s me
So, knowing that Dover had made it onto Springsteen’s radar, Walczak saw an opportunity. He called a few friends last week, who had a few friends… And, Mr. Springsteen, no doubt because he supports the ACLU and the Bill of Rights, agreed to not only meet us, but he also granted Walczak’s rather giddy request. “We’re kinda hoping you’d play ‘Part Man/Part Monkey’?” Springsteen, more than a little hesitantly, asked Walczak who he should dedicate the song to.
Later, after first telling the audience that the band didn’t remember how to play the song, Springsteen dedicated “Part Man/Part Monkey” to, “the Dover parents and sound science education.” Just as Walczak had asked.
And then, of course, the E Street Band nailed a terrific Bob Marley-infused version.
So, there you have it. It’s not a big story. Just a perfect little moment.
Lauri in York