From Dayton to Szolnok: A Scarf


Kelley Deal of the Breeders has long been a knitter and sewer, first of handbags, then of scarves. Each one is unique. For years I tried to buy one of them, but whenever I visited her online store, they were all sold out. So I figured, “next year,” year after year, for about two decades.

Then, stupendously, a month ago, I came to her store when there was just one scarf left, a lovely one named Flyer Nation (the nickname for University of Dayton fans). I wrote to her right away, and it wasn’t too late! I purchased it.

But that wasn’t the end of it; several weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from the Hungarian postal service stating that the scarf was being held in customs (as happens with many packages). I had to complete and submit a form to get it cleared.

I did that but then received an email stating that this wasn’t enough; I had to provide the receipt as well. I did.

This morning, when I was still in my pajamas, the doorbell rang. I answered; it was the postman. I pulled on some clothes and ran downstairs. He had the package for me, but I had to pay a duty fee in cash. I didn’t have the cash on me. Crestfallen, I asked him about other options. He offered to deliver it on Monday–but Monday is a long day for me, and I doubted I’d be home. I offered to go to an ATM right then and there. We discussed where I might go. I mentioned the one at the Spar supermarket across the river. He said he could meet me there in ten minutes. So I sprinted over the bridge, over the Zagyva river, to the supermarket; just when I was withdrawing the money, I saw his van approach. All went well, and I love the scarf. I donned it right away.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is. That things come to those who wait? That things come to those who stop waiting? That waiting and not-waiting are both important in life? That scarves are beautiful? That it’s great to make things by hand? That Flyer Nation is a fitting name for a scarf? That Dayton inspires both yarns and tunes? Whatever it may be, I celebrated earlier with a little bike ride (see above), and later with an upload of “Dayton Break,” the song I wrote back in 1992 and played with my band, the Dogsmen. Here we’re playing at my mom and Stan’s in Northampton, in 1992 or 1993, at a family reunion. Thanks to my Uncle Dan for sending me the video of the whole event. The sound in this video is muddy (this was before digital technology became widely available), but I added the lyrics to the description on YouTube, in case anyone is curious. They (the lyrics) have no literal connection to my life; they came one day, along with the melody and bass line, and I followed to see where they would go.