I just congratulated David Kirby

We had a cordial conversation. He had been busy cleaning up from 25 young ladies from the East Swim team and I got to give him the news of his victory. It was a solid not quite two to one victory. I wished him well and told him he’d always treated me fairly on the Board.

I left a message of condolence with Loren Martell. I really do feel justice slipped by Duluth but I also have to say that the victor in the 3rd District race is a good guy.

I checked in with Alanna Oswald to congratulate her as well. It was a short congratulation because the education reporter from the Duluth News Tribune called and that took priority.

The voting percentages have pretty well set the seal on my permanent retirement. Even Pete Stauber can breath easier. My head has been working overtime on what I would do as a returned school board member but at that was for naught. I knew, however, that win lose or draw I would be content and that is how I feel now. In fact the lopsided nature of my loss really pulls the final curtain on future campaigns. I won’t promise not to dabble in the future but at the moment campaign number 17 feels like the end of a long run.

The writer in me is pleased. Not the blogger but the writer who wants to put some books together. The School Board would have been a powerful deterrent to that long desire of mine. I say not the blogger because the blog and short form writing has also been a distraction. But I think I will find time to return to writing every other week in the Reader. In fact, I woke up this morning with an idea I sketched out for a column this week. As of the end of the election reporting I am no longer a candidate so the Reader will probably let me back on the payroll. (That’s a joke BTW) I sent them a column late this afternoon for their Thursday edition. It would be a shame to have wasted all my ads in the Reader for the past couple months telling folks how much they missed my contributions. So, That’s how I feel as of the ten o’clock news.

Thanks to all those who helped me out and voted for me. Book orders will be fulfilled sooner now that I have so much more free time to look forward to.

God’s peace and thank you Kentucky and Virginia. You brightened my evening.

Luke 12: 34

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Although I am a poor substitute for a professing Christian in our church choir I do like the weekly reminder of the call of Jesus of Nazareth. In Acts there is the story of one of his followers after the Resurection when his followers formed communes to share all their goods. One of them, Annanias, lied to Peter and to God about how much he was withholding from the community. Peter knew better and said: ” “Why is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?” Annanias died on the spot.

Donald Trump, who is famous for bragging about his wealth, cheating on his taxes, getting hold of his inheritance before his father Fred was willing to hand it over, failing to make charitable contributions he promised to make while cheating the contractors who built his empire and the students who attended his colleges, should remember that its reported the same St. Peter, who said that Annanias was filled with Satan, guards the entrance to heaven. What are Trump’s chances?

Elsewhere in the Bible Jesus tells the rich young man that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. Of course, like so much in the Bible this is cherry picked out by the prosperity gospel preachers who believe great wealth is a sign of God’s favor. I tend to agree more with Balzac’s observation: “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.”

Back in the seventies a lot of TV preachers with their Lear Jets and mansions got tossed in prison for their misuse of church funds. That doesn’t happen so much any more and many of them are richer than ever. No wonder they have come to the conclusion that Donald Trump has the “mandate of heaven.” There’s not much more Jesus in their Churches than there is Lincoln in the Grand Old Party.

Chernobyl

A month before my Dad died in 1987 the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant suffered a nuclear explosion that killed between 4,000 and 90,000 people immediately and prematurely. After our mini adventure Claudia suggested we watch the fifth and final episode of the recent series on the accident. It was pretty compelling.

The main character is the scientist who bucked the Soviet security state’s insistence that he deny the government’s role in the tragedy.

Among his last words before committing suicide were these that I find striking with our prevaricating President still in office:

“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth.”

The official death toll according to the Soviets who trained Vladimir Putin how to run a country has remained unchanged since 1987. It is 31.

A couple 11th hour School Board election details

Tomorrow my paid advertisement supporting the election of Loren Martell will be in Sunday’s DNT.

TODAY in a letter to the editor the Equity people from wester Duluth said I would be a better choice for the school board than the incumbent and said that the Trib’s editors made a mistake in endorsing the incumbent.

Claudia and I got out of Dodge today to give our ner car a road test. We finally have three digits worth of milage on the odometer. We drove to Ashland, Wisconsin, for lunch and a tour of the museum dedicated to Lake Superior and its surroundings. It was quite nice. I saw a porcupine in a pine tree on the way there… at least I am pretty sure that’s what I saw.

I chatted with Alanna Oswald on the way home via text and suggested we do a go fund me page to buy a barcalounger for her to make sitting through school board meetings bearable for her. She toughed out a 2 hour meeting a couple days ago. She shouldn’t have to suffer.

I came home and replaced some downed lawnsigns.

I discovered Facebook’s very clever appeal to voters to vote on Tuesday. My listing had a link to Lincolndemocrat. Most candidates had some link to a page on the internet but not the incumbent that I am challenging. These days that’s a pretty serious oversight

A “Trumplican ?????” and the fate of the nation

I don’t often wake up and change a word in a hot blog post. I just did it this morning. I have a car to drive in alone to express my most virulent and impassioned words while shouting myself hoarse.

But later this morning I’ll contemplate the “?????” I just typed in to replace a word that my readers caught between 11PM last night to this morning at 5:48AM.

?????

It’s been a couple days now. Halloween has come and gone. School board related things are on my mind. The word I typed in is one of a great many words that are hurled at people willing to sacrifice decency for pay or survival.

I can forgive people for wanting to survive…steaing breadcrumbs to feed starving children for instance. But sacrificing decency to win an election. I have no use for those priorities.

The most frightening Halloween in U.S. History and me

Today, Halloween, the Congress began its fourth serious attempt to impeach and possibly remove a President of the United States.

I will not pledge to avoid running against Pete Stauber in 2020 even if I am on the Duluth School Board. I can not do it because today the Democrats in the House of Representatives did the right thing and something which one of Pete Stauber’s Republican colleagues predicted could lead to a second American Civil War.

I wish I could glibly say it will not come to that. Four years ago everyone but me, it seems, laughed when Donald Trump threw himself into the Republican Primary. They laughed at him like earlier generations laughed at Adolph Hitler.

Republicans and Newspapers knew him for what he was: a fraud, a clown, a blowhard, a cheat, a bully and an ignorant narcissist. The Duluth News Tribune is owned by a small time conservative media group that didn’t want to alienate their many rural readers. As a result the Trib failed to endorse the stable and competent Hillary Clinton over the candidate described too kindly two sentences ago. Their subscriptions and revenue were too important to sacrifice for the future of America. Today, damn near every Republican politician is following the fine example of the Duluth News Tribune’s editors.

To say I was disappointed that the Trib did not endorse me for the School Board is terribly off the mark. Rather, I am honored to be just one more obvious choice for an endorsement snubbed because of the editors small mindedness. Look at the final ad I placed in the Trib’s competition the Duluth Reader. Its written as though some neutral source was evaluating me but the fact is I wrote it (as my disclaimer puts it) “by his own darned self.”

I know my strengths. I am a seeker of new information. I value honesty as others value courage and believe that honesty requires courage. I hold self righteousness in low regard. I hold arrogance in even lower regard. I value humility but I know it doesn’t require me to deny my rather high opinion of myself. To prove my point I can point to the acknowledged two best presidents in US history. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were brilliant. And yet, both of these men were graced with great humility so unlike the fetid stench given off by our current President.

I feel uniquely prepared to bring any Trumplican ????? to his or her senses. That would be Pete Stauber in Minnestota’s Eighth Congressional District seat. So, if I am elected to the Duluth School Board I still might try to hobble Pete in 2020.

Feel free to report this to the Duluth News Tribune. I’m sure if the Trib gets this information out by this weekend it might undermine my chances of getting elected to the Duluth School Board. If I am not on the School Board I’ll have more time to figure out how to keep the Constitution safe from Pete Stauber’s spinelessness. I’ll also have more time to practice my French. “Liberté, Equality, Fraternity”

Happy Halloween as I limp to the finish line

It occurred to me today that one reason I’ve been resisting a last minute campaign schedule is because I worked my tail off at the beginning of the summer to get everything done early so that I would not have to do a mad dash at the end. Even the weather and kids are cooperating. I’ve had very little replacement of my lawnsigns. That’s partly because they didn’t go up until about three weeks ago. I waited so long because I dreaded the prospect of driving around to see if they had fallen. It helps that this time I’m running for a district seat or one fourth of Duluth. I don’t have to drive the entire length of our 26 mile city. The farthest any part of this district is from my centrally located home is about two miles.

Wishing to avoid the planter’s faschitis that afflicted my poor foot two years ago as I went door to door in every neighborhood city-wide, I raised enough in donations this summer to mail personal appeals to 7 of my District’s 8 precincts. I don’t have the money that either the DFL or Labor has to blanket mail the entire City but their school board endorsees only get their name and picture on a post card sharing space with all the other endorsees. A voter has to take the union’s word that the candidate is top notch. But only 30 percent of Duluth employees are represented by unions and, in my experience, only the actual labor officials much care about the union’s endorsement.

I still have forty lawnsigns that I could put up but I’ve been busy with Choir practice, good deeds and fixing up a little Halloween Display……and as always practicing French. In fact French was one of the things I sacrificed early in the summer only spending twenty to thirty minutes on it daily while working on campaign related chores. I’ve enjoyed the hour a day that I’ve lavished on it over the past few weeks.

I did have one campaign chore remaining and I spent my afternoon yesterday doing it belatedly. On Monday I was supposed to turn in my campaign finance papers ten days before the election. However, I came home that morning after discovering that our 12-year-old Camray had a non-functioning gas gauge. We have been talking about replacing the car for a couple years and even looked at some other cars last week. But that last irksome discovery pushed us over the edge and we went out and bought the car Claudia had been keen on. Claudia hates shopping and we bought it on the spot. That left me Tuesday to get the finance forms in and calculated. I’ll have to amend them as I forgot about the $160.00 I just put on my credit card to advertise on Facebook. Supposedly I’m only advertising in Duluth’s 2nd school district but Claudia is skeptical because she told me she has yet to see any of my ads. I’m not sure I’ve seen any of them either.

I may find time to do a little more campaigning if I survive all the Halloween chocolates I’m likely to consume. There will be one last weekend and Monday before Tuesday’s vote. But I might content myself, as I did today, with tidying up our patio for winter.

Holloweeny stuff

Between watching my grandson and being an usher at the Depot where my grandson is s pitratical treasure hunter in the Production of Treasure Island and doing other holloweeny things I’ve had a hard time finding time to put up more lawnsigns. Above is a spider that is dangling above my front door. Its there waiting for me every morning I go to pick up my Tribune. Its dark and next week we are switching over to daylight savings time. It will be a little less scary to pick up my trib. Its almost as scary as opening it up to see what’s inside. Today it was a mixed bag. The reinterated their school board endorsements which were two for three for the folks I support. Alanna Oswald got their endorsement and so did Loren Martel. I missed out but I’m so used to getting elected without their endorsement and without any from labor unions or the DFL that I can shrug it off. I’m such a known quantity with voters that I’ll be elected or not based on their opinions not the opinions voters check out of me from the Trib. All in all I’m pleased with their school board endorsements.

Friday night I volunteered to hand out goodies at Lowell Elementary. I headed there straight from putting up lawnsigns. The view above taken by a parent of me with the Crytal Farms cheese sticks it was my lot to pass out is suitable fuzzy which obscures the innocent kids that took my treat. Crystal Farms volunteered 400 or more of the string cheese and most kids were happy to take it. I loved showing the dorothy’s my Cell phone cover of a Halloween a few years back. I told the little girls everything was perfect about their costume except the absence of the beard.

And that left me with today’s sort of laid back trunk or treat at our church. I’d made a scarecrow with my grandson a month ago to keep him off tech (a cell phone) and we stuck it up as a cornfield. Claudia is the crow who would pluck me clean of corn kernels and I was an ear or corn. I told every adult that walked by that my wife always picked out my cloths.

Don’t worry…let me do that for you

Its a sunny if cold afternoon so I am about to head up and put up some more lawnsigns. At this point I suspect most voters have made up their mind but I don’t want to risk losing by ten votes because I was too tired or infirm or whatever to waste the donations that have been sent to my campaign. That would be unfair to my supporters.

I’ve been working overtime locally and globally meaning both Duluth School Board and tyrant eradication work. Its exhausting reading the news these days. That’s probably Trump’s biggest worry. Even his supporters have got to be fatigued. But on the other hand I keep being sent unwanted cheap shots at me for being an anti-trumper by one of his most ardent supporters. I should but can’t resist responding. Its actually a constant useful reminder of how Fox Television has polluted America.

I plan to post the string of emails from my frenemie if I have time later.

STUFF to tell you before I put up lawnsigns

Yesterday I took a half hour phone call from a Facebook techie advising me how to get the most out of Facebook. I teased him about Mark Zuckerberg listening in. He gave me some good advice and motivated me to put up more ads in the waning days of the campaign.

Not long ago a fan of mine who always asks me about whether Donald Trump will ever be curbed told me their son is a guard at Camp David. I asked if he’s been guarding the Taliban.

Two nights ago when I woke up at 2 in the morning I had some mental clarification going on in my head about what my mission was in the upcoming last third of my life. I must say it was invigorating at a time when the campaign stuff had started to discourage me.

And I’d recommend this piece today by an old favorite of mine, Andrew Sullivan. Its longish and deals with three items. The first is about Boris Johnson, British politics and Brexit. It made good sense to me but if its not your bag skip the beginning. The last part is a pretty dead-on analysis of the Democrats running against Trump. It was discouraging even though I suspect a majority of the nation’s electoral votes will get past Republican attempts to block non Republican voters and Mark Zuckerberg’s refusal to correct lying politicians and their campaigns on Facebook.

Engaged

It only took four hours and some phone calls but my letter is on its way to the Sunday before the election Trib. Sadly I would have had to send it in yesterday to get in this Sunday’s Trib. I’m sure if the thirty day’s hadn’t interfered my letter would have counted as a free letter to the editor. Now it has cost me $62.50. No wonder political letters have all but dried up.

I also OK’ed an ad for myself on my Facebook Page. I’ll have spent about $20.00 each on four week-long ad runs. Unless I take up the offer Facebook sent me to get some of their professional advice on how to turn this post as an ad Were Republicans ever good?. I’m tempted.

BTW for your curiosity I have received not a single order for this book online…except for my brother…who graciously gave me a nice contribution as well. I have “sold” about 75 books by donation. I will not be printing out huge numbers of them but I will print out a couple extra when I put the printing order in. That won’t be any time soon. The last six weeks I haven’t had the long quiet stretches needed to compose a book…..just the short intense moments to crank out blog posts. I hope I’ll be able to clear my head after the election win, lose or draw. And in that time I will put together a quickie book (sort of a Harry’s Reader stopgap book as a freebie for those 75 unfulfilled orders. Then it will be on to my Idiot book about public education then if I can martial the concentration I hope to explain how the Republican Party turned out so cockeyed.

BTW – My “Idiot” Book comes from the famous quotation of Mark Twain: First God created the Idiot. That was for practice. Then he created the School Board.” I love that quote. I put it on my Education page in my first School Board related webpage.

Heck I just googled it and found three occasions when I broadcast that bit of spite:

W4SB2013
www.snowbizz.com › WeltyforSchoolBoard
For God’s sake when I was in high school and a teacher’s orders were obeyed like … public that agreed with Mark Twain when he said, “First God created idiots.
Duluth Schools

www.snowbizz.com › ISD709
“First God created idiots. That was for practice. Then he created school boards.” Mark Twain. If you don’t read anything else on this page look at this. It is an …
The official source for all the blather of … – lincolndemocrat.com
lincolndemocrat.com › …

Jun 15, 2019 – The candidate I thought had it made in the shade, the ex-Chair of the ….. reference to finding stuff on my first website: www.snowbizz.com. … She embraced evangelical tenets, like trusting God, not one’s own feelings. …. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain’s assessment: “First God created the idiot.

My “community engagement letter”

The DNT will not print regular letters to the editor that have appeared elsewhere. However, Forum Communications will take advertising and now charges for publishing political letter to the editors, endorsements etc. I have been annoyed with this since the practice was announced a couple years ago although, I have to admit it has thinned out such regular endorsement letters from a couple candidates who begged tons of their friends to submit them.

A few days ago I posted a link to the letter my friend Kathy Bogan sent the Trib taking them to task for endorsing an “uncivil” Loren Martell. I believe that is a very unfair charge although, knowing Kathy, I don’t think she means to be unfair. But the Trib’s editors told me I couldn’t reply until November 17th over a week after the election. I opted instead for their community engagement letter AKA as an ad to make more revenue. Fair enough, but dammit, Half an hour ago their website told me I was going to get a confirmation email that would let me send in my letter. I’m still waiting for for the website I was referred to to sent me a notification that I am in their system. Its been 45 minutes and its still not in my email in box. Just in case I never get my “community engagement letter” in the doggoned Trib here it is. As a “paid” letter I guess there is no harm in my sharing it on my blog.

Here it is:

My friend, Kathy Bogan, criticized the editors of the Tribune for endorsing my friend, Loren Martell, in his fifth campaign for a school board seat.

I have known both Kathy and Loren for a long time during our school district’s tumultuous past. Kathy is an ardent caretaker of our children. Loren is the embodiment of speaking truth to power.

Kathy has called Loren’s justified critiques of school board members uncivil. Having faced unhappy citizen’s myself while on the school board, I see things differently. I have always asked myself, “if we can’t feel passionate about our children what can we feel passionate about?”

Loren Martell was humiliated by our school board during the Red Plan wars when his microphone was shut off during his allotted three minutes and he was handcuffed by a guard when the Board grew impatient with his criticism. Rather than fold under this coercion Loren dedicated the last decade to watching his tormentors like a hawk and scrupulously reporting on their work (including mine) in the alternative press.

I agree with the editors who endorsed Loren, saying that it was time he was elected to the Duluth School Board. I’d go farther. I believe that if there is any justice in the world Loren should serve on our school board. He will serve with distinction and humility. It is rare for someone with Loren’s keen insight on the complicated finances of public education or the duties of a public servant to offer themselves to voters.

I believe Ms. Bogan will come to see this in Loren as I have seen it in Loren for the last decade. Loren will do this, if for no other reason, than to honor the memory of his late wife, a dedicated high school art teacher.

Take a deep breath everybody

On a semi-private Facebook Page devoted to defeating Donald Trump there is much angst, paranoia and backbiting some of it provoked, no doubt, by Trump paid saboteurs. Today a post about Tulsi Gabbard raised hackles pro and con. At the moment I’m an agnostic about Gabbard. I will rely on the New York Times to provide some sensible context but I’ll be darned if I’ll get hysterical a year out from 2020 with any potential disinformation.

This is what I contributed to the Facebook conversation:

“Everyone take a deep breath…..unless you are a Trumper in disguise. Of course this page hears it all good, bad, toxic, paranoid, disinformational. Some of it is honest internal nit picking. Some of it is a middle finger to keep anti Trumpers divided.

I caution vigilant skepticism and courage. It’s going to be a long year until November 2020.”

The following is a popular and long running video on Facebook. It is a good visual metaphor for anyone fearful that Trump’s mignons could reelect America’s real life alternative to Batman’s Joker as President. The Mama bear is the hoped for goal the day after the 2020 election. The baby bear is everyone wishing to say goodbye to the virulently stupid Trump Era. PS. If you think this video’s 2.47 minute run time is long you will never survive the next twelve and a half months.

From Russia with Love # 2

For one brief moment the United States led the Soviet Union to the doorstep of Democracy then Putin and his version of vulture capitalists suffocated Russian Democracy like a baby in a bath tub. Russian Foreign Minister from that hopeful moment shakes his head in disbelief at what is happening in America today and what it may portend for Democracy. He urges President Trump’s impeachment and removal to remove the stain from our nation. I heartily agree with him.

The America I Knew as Russia’s Foreign Minister Is Gone https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/opinion/trump-america-russia.html

From Russia with Love # 1

Its not enough that Trump has helped partner Turkey, our NATO ally, with Putin’s Russia in our spectacular betrayal of American decency. Trump has learned more useful lessons from Russia. To wit: the old Stalinist practice of photographic erasure of embarrassing details……like the apparatchiks who helped keep the Gulag’s working.

A Twitter user discovered that John Bolton had been replaced with Attorney General Robert Barr in a recent White House picture:

Joseph Stalin doesn’t have anything On Donald Trump:

The Glory that is public ed. Reunion details – Part 4

I surprised myself and just cranked out a couple thousand words in Part 3. I didn’t in-any-way proofread or polish it. I might just do the same here about my last day in Mankato a little over a week ago. or I might not. I JUST DID IT….BUT I’M NOT GOING TO EDIT IT EITHER.

I drove to a new hotel on Saturday night at a little past midnight. Had I left for Duluth after our dinner I’d have missed a lot of catching up. I didn’t rush to sleep. I still had 1 and a half Otaknams to review to see what my classmates were saying fifty years ago. Otaks…and Old trick. Read the full word backwards.

I decided before I headed to the bluff country east of Mankato to drive along the Nicollet County Road I used to bicycle to look for Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings. It was just North of the Minnesota River opposite Mankato’s Blue Earth County. Along the way I discovered a waterfall I’d never heard of before smaller than the Minneopa Falls on the opposite bank. Before stepping far from the road to take a look I read a modest plaque that mentioned Ray Sponberg who had helped draw attention to the forgotten locale. He was the Father of one of a Senior debater when I joined the team as a Sophomore. She was a very nice person and her father had taken Chartered Live Underwriter classes from my Dad at Mankato State. I snapped a picture of what was once a campsite for Sioux Indians long since banished to the Dakotas.

I meandered for a while along very pretty autumnal roads and then headed to the cabin where the Reunion committee was gathering. I guess my sitting in the High School parking lot gained me admission. It seemed a remote place under a heavy canopy of fall leaves. I’d get a chance to chat with a couple more folks before I left.

One of my classmates who hadn’t come had sent me an email asking if I might go. He’d done the same thing ten years earlier. He too was one of my debate teammates. Its worth mention his story as it will blend into the another story from another absent Debate teammate…..the first girl I ever dated.

I had met M (this time a boy) in seventh grade with I was talked into going out for the Gymnastics team. I could do a front handspring and to be honest I loved watching the gymnasts for than any other athletes at the Summer Olympics. I wasn’t six foot two back then but I was head in that direction and if you know acrobatics height is a genuine impediment.

Our tiny North Mankato contingent was put on an after-school bus that drove us to Mankato’s Franklin Junior High where, between us, we had just enough sad sacks to have a single dual match each year with Mankato’s Lincoln Junior high. The person I remember most from those days was M. He was a skinny awkward kid, who was desperate to prove his worth. He was half Sioux Indian and looked full blooded. He had been adopted by a sturdy German-American couple as an infant. He didn’t tell me this until we were in Debate a few years later but his native ancestry overwhelmed the Scandinavian. One of my high school classmates irritated by M’s fierce determination to be best at everything called him “Red Cloud.” M approached Debate the way he had Gymnastics or getting good grades – with a great deal of intensity. Later before my Dad made me quite Tennis because of a D on a report card we also joined that team. Mike was even more awkward on a Tennis Court but by God he got pretty good at playing a tenacious game of tennis before he graduated. In college we would get together over summers and play chess too. Did I tell you I hate playing Chess with an opponent who has to win? I didn’t care about winning that much but in the college library I once happened on a very slim Chess guide with I checked out and read leading to the only time I ever beat M. Darn it if M.could never remember me having beat him once.

M would continue to be one of my few long standing classmates with whom I reconnected once we got to the email age. He gave Claudia and I an ironing board for our wedding and was one of my groomsmen. My Uncle Frank thought the give was ridiculously utilitarian but we used a lot more than the hoity-toity silver pieces some of my relatives gave us. I think we still have the same one.

M didn’t come to our reunion but we assured each other that we would somehow cross paths again. We’ve done this several times but haven’t managed it. M went on to a career in the Foreign Service and lives out east. We’d started talking foreign policy after our gymnastics practice in 1967. I was spouting Anti-Vietnam stuff that I was hearing from my Dad and our Gymnastics Coach came in and took me on. Today there are not but-in-sky teachers around when we talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan where he spent several tense years.

M had a crush on the debater who asked me out on my first date as a sophomore. She had long straight golden hair and a scandihoovian name. She was in my English class where I impressed lots of girls by giving a humorous speech introducing myself to the class. I was was a class assignment and I was terrified because I had yet to put my Dad’s advice to be a debater into practice to avoid another panic attack. Dad came through again with the advice to joke around. At any rate in the middle of the year S asked me on a date. It was for a Saddie Hawkins Day dance which, just like in the lil Abner comic strip required girls to go after boys for a date. I was so shocked all I could tell her was I’d have to go ask my parents if this was OK with them.

As a few of my loyal readers know my Dad was thrilled with this turn of events. S’s mom drove us to and from the dance and we went out for pizza imbetween. She gave me a traditional compost like corsage and Mr. Frank the Speech teacher was probably Marrying Sam who tied our knot.

S like M (the girl) and M (the boy) were all much better debaters than I was an in no time I became part of the B team.

I quite debate after my junior year having been paired with L now deceased. L. was a “jolly” fat girl who was mercilessly teased in those days before half the school population grew to be plumpish. Her laugh was a defense mechanism used to bat every insult aside as though there was a competition going on. After college she joined a weight reduction program and slimmed down. There is no telling how scarred she was by years of belittling. M the girl also quit debate. S and M the boy continued on and near the end of our senior year M began dating S having developed a serious crush on her. When she broke off with him he couldn’t barely contain his loss.

I didn’t put two and two together until after college when a classmate told me that S had become a major spokesman for the University of Minnesota Gay’s. Thinking back I recalled two possibly tell tale events that foreshadowed this. S once cracked a joke about a nun doing push ups in a cucumber field for sexual release. I think you would have had to be there to see why this odd joke stuck with me. And then in the Christmas Party after high school I was entreated to host S came in and brought a Dylan album to play over and over and over again. She parked herself on the floor for an hour listening to Bob Dylan sing “Lay lady lay, Lay across my bog brass bed.” I was almost too busy cleaning up after my careless classmates to be too annoyed with seeing S remain glued to this song for an hour but I was still a little annoyed with this odd behavior.

Which reminds me of another discursive bit before I wrap up. At the Friday night get together I had a chance to be a bit of a raconteur about my political shenanigans with our old Class President who has dabbled in politics himself, behind the scenes. I told him about my Voodoo experience but had the most time embellishing the story of this Christmas Party. My parents had only a few weeks earlier completely replaced our furniture and installed a new carpet. Someone suggestged that it being winter we start a fire. I put in a log and fired it up……for about twenty seconds when rolling plumes of smoke began flooding the living room. I fiddled with the flue but the catch only spun around helplessly. Scott, later to become a Mankato policeman rushed into the breach and picked up the burning log and dropped it on the new carpeting. Then he picked it up again and dropped it again. Then he did it a third time saving his poor hands from blistering. Then he finally picked it up a final time and rushed to the door to heave it into a snowbank.

Actually Scott was with us Saturday night and he reminded me of this incident. I mentioned how many times he dropped the log in my telling and good cop that he was said. I only dropped it once. “That’s true,” I told him, “but a good story teller never lets that stop him from improving on a good story.”

Well, some years later yet another classmate of mine who was teaching in Duluth told me that S had been a lesbian. It all sort of added up. Sadly, I could see the sense of disapproval in his telling me this. Thank God those days are passing swiftly. But ever since I’ve enjoyed knowing that my first date was a gay woman. And that fact was confirmed by yet another of my original sophomore debate teammates on Sunday as we were sent out on a scavenger hunt. We too had gone out on one date in high school where she had explained how she was stuck attending Mankato State because her Father’s hand to mouth farming operation on a very expensive piece of farm property made it impossible for her to get any scholarships for a more rarefied college experience.

Now on a hunt for a snail shell a feather and some moss she told me how her fiend S stayed close through college a fact I’d been unaware of. And yes S was gay or bi or something. She had been trying to figure that all out. And I was her first date too.

These four largely unedited posts about the glories that are public education sort of misses my intention. However, I went to school with a lot of bright kids who, for the most part, grew up to be bright adults. We were part of the baby boom, at least the white baby boom, who got good schools that took our education seriously. It was a joy to see my old class again.

As I run for the School Board for my eighth time I’ll keep those memories in mind. If elected in two weeks I’ll do my best to do justice for all the kids in the Duluth public schools so that when some of them return to Duluth for a fiftieth reunion it will be as special as my fiftieth was to me.

Paid political letter

I’ve had a cordial email exchange with the Trib’s editorial page editor, Chuck Frederick.

He told me first that my letter about Kathy Bogan and Loren Martell couldn’t run until November 17 – after the thirty day delay and over a week after the election.

I told him that it was a damn shame my Op-Ed that they asked me to contribute would count against me.

He said he’d check with the entire Editorial Board but didn’t hold out much hope that they would go along with an early letter…..but, in a follow up email he reminded me of the Trib’s paid-for-political-letters. I’d forgotten that option…..which I have never felt very good about. But. I am nothing if not pragmatic. I asked Chuck to send my letter to the folks in that Department and have them contact me for payment.

I felt a little like our pathetic president negotiating with a dictator and letting them call all the shots…..but what else could I do? Chuck also reminded me that I could blog it but really! My circulation only compares favorably in terms of intelligence not volume compared to the Trib.

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."