Two weeks to the primary election and I ended a day mostly indifferent to campaigning with a fun little sparkler. My neighbors across the street had taken one of my signs and put it in their yard. It was very lonely and I was feeling a little guilty because I just wasn’t feeling like wearing a mask to ask folks along 21st and Woodland to put up more signs for my protest candidacy. Its just like I haven’t sent out letters asking for money. I did that two years ago promising donors a book which I only got around to beginning as summer commenced. I hate disappointing folks almost as much as I feel contempt for the Trumps channeling their donors money into the Trump family’s back pockets by the millions.
So, I sat home watching the new Perry Mason tonight with that great rumpled Scottish actor, Mathew Rhys, who has nailed the American accent. Like other series I’ve been watching lately it has a serious dose of Black Lives Matter in its seedy, sepia toned, 1930’s California. This Perry is no Raymond Burr. And Paul Drake, is not an ice cool block of marble but a burnt umber cop smoldering under the racism of the system which made him a nice token to be looked down on. And tonight we met Perry’s 1950’s nemesis, Hamilton Burger. HOT DOG! Did that twist ever put me in a good mood. But it was time for keeping the deer out of my garden by setting up a defensive ring of lawn chairs and feeding the cat. And what greeted my ears as I opened the back door was the muffled sound of young people across the Avenue next to my lonely lawnsign.
Two of the residences of this rental had dropped by our house a week earlier to tell me they would be having a gathering and to let me know they meant to be respectful but to – by all means – let them know if they were too loud. They were together again this evening with a gang of a dozen having a cheerful hushed conversation. They were gathered so close I could only pray they were all free of the Covid 19 Virus. I walked across the Avenue likely putting them all on notice that some cranky neighbor was headed directly their way to give them a nasty talking to. Of course, I only give good old Chuck Frederick, the DNT’s editor, that kind of talking too and its been ten years since I did that.
NO, NO, NO I was inspired. I didn’t want my other neighbors to carry the burden of being the only people in Duluth to have stuck up one of my signs. So, I asked if the two young ladies I’d met earlier were present and by golly they were. I gave the porch a song and dance about hoping I wasn’t calling on people who would be appalled by my politics but I was running for Congress and I was running as someone diametrically opposed to Donald Trump. They let me know immediately that I was among friends.
So, I explained my herd of lawnsigns across the avenue……which I knew they had to be puzzling over…..and when I wondered if they would put one up I got a hearty assent. Two went up forthwith and I mentioned that if they knew anyone else with similar politics they would be welcome to pick up a sign as well. We said our goodbyes and I came in to feed the cat but one more thought crossed my mind. I had a perfectly good essay/handout which was going in the Duluth Reader….. tomorrow.
I asked myself, “Why not print ten copies out and pass them out explaining that if they had buyer’s remorse they could put their lawnsigns back in my yard.” I told them to fold them up and put them in their back pockets to read tomorrow.
Last year before the corona virus I imagined that I might be able to catch the fancy of UMD’s students but of course, that was not meant to be this year. But for tonight, two weeks before I have to wipe the dust off my sandals, I was a five minute hit with one tiny pocket of young people who will be wrestling with the sins of my generation for the next eighty years. It was very gratifying.