Eric's Daily Weblog
Spent some time at the Pennington County Fair in Thief River Falls today and ran into our long-time congressman Collin Peterson. He had just finished singing and playing with the band on stage.
This is already a favorite photo, taken by Michele Anderson and posted on Facebook.
It tells so many stories.
On the right is Bunny Anderson, who is wheel-chair bound due to a spinal injury. He has a lake home which is completely accessible. He loves to entertain nursing home residents by having them into his house, then rolling them out on the dock, onto the pontoon, and then going for a ride around the lake. For the past seven years, the trip to Bunny's place has been a highlight of Aunt Olla's summer.
Then, of course, a romance developed. Aunt Olla "took to" Bunny. Although that notion has receded from her mind a bit in recent months, it is obvious that it was quite a thing for her to see Bunny again. Here they are bidding farewell with a kiss on the hand. Bunny has done so much for Olla, sending her flowers, cards, and so on.
In so many ways, Bunny has been Olla's angel...
Aunt Olive had her own float in the parade, along with Director of Nursing Peggy Erickson.
My somewhat less impressive float...it took a beating in the wind, but it was still fun.
Parade day at the Polk County Fair. I lined up to march right behind the Senior Citizen of the Year, Dean Vikan of Fosston, seen here waiting for the parade to start. It was very windy, as you can see from the flags, and we had to do some reinforcing of my float in order for it to make it through the parade upright. Picture upcoming.
This is what mid-summer baseball broadcasting should be like.
Incidentally, the only foul ball I have ever claimed came off the bat of Jerry Remy, then the Angel's second baseman. The year: 1976. The game: A meaningless affair between two non-contending teams which eventually had so many rain delays that we left. The pitcher: The Twins' Vic Albury.
The foul ball hit off the chest of a man next to us. My mother reached down and grabbed the ball. I snatched it from her and showed it to the guys in the announcer's booth--at that time, Herb Carneal and Frank Quilici.
I have been campaigning this past week. A little of everything. I am sending out a fund-raising letter, which has taken some time. I rode in a parade in McIntosh, which was more fun than I anticipated. I attended a "Breakfast on the Farm" event, the sort of thing I would never go to ordinarily as I am not one to be in crowds unless I am up front speaking to the whole shebang. I knocked doors, including the door of somebody who was later found dead.
"It is lonely out there," a couple of veteran campaigners have told me. That truth was evident at the breakfast, where I felt out of sorts. Eventually, because the garbage was a long ways from benches where people ate, I collected paper plates and took them to the dumpster. That made me feel useful.
But the real battle is internal: I am basically shy, and this experience is forcing me to examine the underlying reasons for my shyness, and to get less self-conscious.
Example: At the breakfast was a man who I recognized. I attempted to catch his eye, but he looked the other way. Oh, sure, I thought, somebody who doesn't like me now that I am a politician. I walked away.
That afternoon in the parade, the same man shouted at me and waved: "There's Bergeson!"
So, he just didn't recognize me that morning.
The parade was an adventure as there was a screw-up (partly my fault) and there was no vehicle to carry Senator Stumpf and me. With five minutes before the parade started, we had no vehicle and we weren't about to walk. Sure enough, somebody offered their pickup. We stuck our magnetic signs to the side and were off as if nothing had happened.
I think there were more people in the parade than watching the parade. But it was fun.
My opponent is a good parade campaigner. She was a few units ahead, running around putting stickers on everybody. So, everybody had one of her stickers one before I went by, which was kind of funny--especially with some of the people I knew!
I can't bring myself to order stickers, buttons, or other pariphenalia that one might see in the garbage at the fairgrounds.
After yesterday's cold weather hurricane, mid 50s with rain, today dawned bright, beautiful and cool. A great summer day. I did campaign things and then ended up starting knocking doors at about 10 a.m. Went for five hours. It went well. You learn a lot about how people live. I met several people I knew. Some Republicans handed back my brochure and said, "no way!" which is fine. We're supposed to study a chart which tells us which houses aren't going to be receptive so we can avoid them, but that takes too much time. I like to visit everybody. And some of them show me their yard, which is also a learning experience.
I went up and down a street and returned to within earshot one of the houses where a man had been a little brusque about a Democrat at his door about twenty minutes earlier. Now he was outside with a sledge hammer pounding on a life-size plastic Santa, attempting to break it down into smaller pieces. Despite the onslaught, Santa tenaciously held on to his Santaness. The beating would have made a great video. Boom, boom, boom. The Republican really let Santa have it. Finally, with one mighty blow from the sledge hammer, Santa's head poppled off and rolled down the driveway. At that point, things calmed. I walked on, afraid to be noticed as the man caught his breath.
I will not make a partisan issue of this. I promise. But it seemed like he was making war on Christmas.
At another house, a nice young man answered, read my pamphlet, nodded his head and said, "I'll tell my wife."
Well, I said, I would appreciate your vote, too.
"Can't vote," he said. "I am a felon."
At that point, that law seemed a bit cruel. Not all states strip felons of their voting rights for their entire life after they have served their term.
Another: I knocked. "Who is it?" came from deep inside.
"Bergeson, from Fertile," I yelled.
"Oh wait, I'll be right there."
He dressed and came to the door.
"So what kind of strawberries do you have?"
It took quite a little discussion before he realized I was politicking and not selling nursery stock.
He promised me his support.
Another woman approached her door from the inside to leave her house just as I approached to knock from the outside.
"JESUS!" she screamed as she saw me looking through her screen door.
We both laughed.
"I am just relieved you're a politician," she said. "I thought it might be one of those religious groups, and I said, 'Jesus'!"
I said I'd been called worse.
Put up a simple campaign website this weekend. A web presence is necessary these days, but the big deal is getting out to meet voters so I didn't want it fancy. Had a good day pounding pavement yesterday. So good that last evening when I knocked on Mom and Dad's door to pay them a visit (and consume sister-in-law Kae's first attempt at escalloped potatoes), I said "ouch!" The other knuckle is wearing out, too.
Kae's escalloped potatoes turned out absolutely scrumptious. She sat and watched us eat them, as she had already had Thai food earlier. I mean, you have to survive. She used no recipe for the potatoes, but we did get it out of her that she added a quart of half-and-half to the dish!
Then we played Boggle. Playing Boggle with two people (Kae and Champoo) who are just learning English is not fair, but they are good sports and Kae insists that it will help her learn English. Eventually, we played another game which allowed Champoo to demolish us all, as she is so fond of doing in competitive pursuits.
Champoo was very excited to have the whole family for supper. "Family eat, then play game!" She is not fond of my rude habit of nibbling before the meal actually starts. Nine year olds are rule-oriented, it seems.