Tenterhooks Pt. 1B – I’m no saint

You will want to begin reading this at Tenterhooks Part 1A I’m no saint

So, last night after a second day playing with automobile Halloween consumes I got a call from Tim.Tim as you may recall is the young black fellow who claimed to have gotten half a dozen DWB’s over the summer and fall. I’m still walking up to Afro-americans in town and handing out my school district business card. I do it a little less often as the temps are driving us all indoors and that means walking up to blacks in a more confined interior space becomes more public. Earlier this week I did this with a check out girl at a local store who had no other customers about. After I explained my concern another check out clerk said “I heard you say you were on the school board….” I was given an earful about “Core Education.”

Ah, but I digress.

So, I went down to check on Tim at Dublihn’s Bar before Claudia got home from the Cities and her Theological studies. I parked along first street and when I got out to put a quarter in the meter I was Loren Martell walking by. He’d finished up his day and was walking home. He had about a mile to go by my reckoning. He’d called me a couple days earlier when I got derailed from visiting my Mother by a couple long phone calls. I asked him if he’d have a column in next week’s Reader about our Board meeting and he assured me he would. He’d been watching the you tubes of the meeting and was still shaking his head over Sworsky’s comments.

As he mentioned the various things Mr. Sworsky said the awfulness of them came back to me. I had told Art in the other long phone conversation that kept me away from Mom that Tim was obviously very upset. I happened to know that Art was not focused on the Human Resources Director but only generally considered him part of the administration. The real bully was a suck up employee who made it her business to harass Jane Bushey and did it with particular vengeance after she failed to find a candidate who could defeat Art Johnston in last Fall’s election.

The long wait for Attorney Mary Rice’s report has not only given Art Johnston the heebie jeebies it seems to have done the same to Mr. Sworsky.

I have some theories about that report. For one thing I think its quite possible that it failed to be damning enough or that it has damned the wrong people and has been sent back for rewrites. I’ve already speculated that our Board Attorney Kevin Rupp is really the Superintendent’s attorney and if his picked investigator has not managed to corroborate the District’s laundry list of allegations it would leave lots of egg for a great many people’s faces.

I can particularly imagine the juicy details I spilled being left out although to do so will gut the story. After listening to Sworsky I got wondering whether the Superintendent had left him in or out of the full information loop. For all I know Tim has no idea how duplicitious and unsavory the chief witness against Jane Bushey is. I finally told Annie Harrala the grim details in a two page letter after she said I was “grandstanding” at the last school board meeting. I gave a copy of the letter to the Superintendent.

What I don’t know is whether, as an old Board member well acquainted with a villainous act on the part of Art’s accuser, I can safely tell a current school board member or even a Superintendent such confidential information. My retirement gurus, mentioned in the first half of this post, might be in a panic even now. Maybe I’ll get sued and my wife’s earnings will be wiped off the map. They would lose a nice account. Wouldn’t that be charming. Claudia would probably leave my bed all together not just for a couple hours early one morning. On the other hand maybe she could launch in the ministry with an even deeper conviction in her new found penury.

It’s cold comfort knowing that 500 Denfeldites already know the grubby details. So does the Duluth News Tribune. So why do I have to be the bad guy who spills the beans? I guess because I’m the kind of guy who gets himself elected to the school board and blabs about being intimate with my Mother’s best friend. Maybe Honesty is some sort of sick compulsion.

Back to Loren. He mentioned that one of the time Chair Ann Wasson shut of the microphone on him he had begun to offer an amusing faux thank you to one of the administrators. She, in her desire to prevent personal attacks, shut him down assuming the worst. Loren noted that Chair Miernicki appears a little more relaxed about personal attacks having permitted Sworsky to ridicule Johnston’s marital status and calling his partner “That Woman.”

I’d forgotten that and knew that some long posts were overdue. Before we departed I wanted to raise the subject of Loren’s considering a run for the School Board in 2017. I had already told him I think the climate would be right. I had to wait six years to run knowing that in those years of Red Plan building the benefit of the doubt was with the Red Planners. Now we know the downsides. Further Loren has proven himself a wry and subtle analysts of the Board with monthly critiques of the Board’s deliberations. Ironically its been Art who has dampened that thought. He thinks the old accusations by the Red Planners would haunt Loren as they did when her ran the two previous times. Art is right. Some of the Red Planners are expert at character assassination.

But as Loren pointed out Art was sure I would go down to defeat last fall for the same reasons. Its funny but I was sure Art was toast. The Red Plan must have turned us all into pessimists.

I said my goodbyes and went to visit Tim. I found him as he had directed me at the end of the bar. He was engaged in a cordial talk with my old buddy and former School Board member Mike Maxim Sr. Mike had just offered him a job. We had a lot of conversations going simultaneously as Tim was also talking with a couple of friends from St. Scholastica. I dismissed Mike good naturedly as a School Board short timer- just four years. I explained to Mike that I didn’t come into his bar because I got all the comedy I needed at Board meetings. Mike poured me one of Dubhlin’s home brews which he said was like Guinness Stout squared. He gave it to me at no charge in sympathy for my service on the Board. As he left to tend to the bar’s business he called back to Tim that I was as good as a reference for the job.

I didn’t stay long. Claudia was due back from the Cities by seven and as it turned out she got home early. Traffic must have been lighter since we are past the tourist season.

We ordered out from Bulldogs Pizza and watched the 1985 movie “Out of Africa.” I built a top for a second costumed car while Isak Denison discovered she had been given syphilis by her husband in World War I Era Kenya. Gosh but writers know how to get our attention.

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