Friday, October 16, 2015

Being a Gentleman

By Fred Owens
Being a Gentleman
I heard the sound of Bernie Sanders giving the campaign away to Hillary Clinton at this week's debate. He said, "We're tired of hearing about your damn e-mails." You might as well switch off the TV at that point -- all softball questions for Hillary after that.
Hillary gets the nomination, there's no point in discussing it. The election itself is not certain. The Republicans are wild with energy. That's surprising. Republicans are not supposed to be surprising.They are are heading into unknown territory with their non-professional leadership. As a writer I appreciate Ben Carson breaking taboos and saying things that I might be too careful to say  -- he makes casual references to historic disasters. You're not supposed to do that. The rules are very clear. The Holocaust is an exclusive Jewish franchise. Slavery is for African-Americans. Sexual assault is for woman. Genocide for Native Americans and so forth. Each group has its franchise.
Carson, being black, is entitled to speak about slavery, but not the Holocaust.
I guess, he doesn't know any better.
I wish the Democrats had a non-professional in the race -- a rank amateur of some good social standing. I'm a Democrat. I always vote Democratic for President, except in 1996 when I voted for Bob Dole.
I voted for Bob Dole in 1996 because ..... that's a long story, you wouldn't be interested.
I voted for Al Gore in 2000. He could have won, if Nader stayed home. He could have won if the Clintons had helped him.
My political history is not interesting. We get to 2016 and I will vote for Hillary Clinton. She owns the Democrats. There's no choice. You can feel my lack of enthusiasm.
But here's story you might like. In 1988, Jesse Jackson was running strong for President on the Rainbow Coalition ticket. He was surging for the Democratic nomination. Me and lots of other folks in Skagit County were strong for Jesse.
We went to the county convention that summer, hundreds of Democrats sitting in folding chairs, and Debbie Aldrich gives us all a lecture. I remember it clearly and I will paraphrase her words. "Jesse Jackson is a great leader and we all love him, but he can't win the election in November. We need to back a stronger and more central candidate, we need to support Michael Dukakis because he can win."
Sheepishly we took off our rainbow clothes and we all supported Dukakis, who lost and is now forgotten.
We should have stuck with Jesse Jackson. Jesse would have lost, no doubt, but it would have been way too much fun.
So know we have Hillary, because she can win.
Nobody cares about 1988. How about 1956 when Adlai Stevenson got the nomination and threw the vice-presidential choice out to the convention. Jack Kennedy fought for the VP slot but he lost to Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver. You remember that?
I do. I was ten, and we were coming back from California on a family vacation riding in a soft-green 1956 Buick, with Dad driving and Mom swatting kids, and all the windows rolled down, going 70 mph on Highway 66 back to Chicago.
We had the VP nomination battle on the radio that summer's day and it was very exciting. That was my first political memory.
Adlai Stevenson -- I wish he was here today.
Lots of Weather in California
We could get flash floods, brush fires  and an earthquake all on a Friday afternoon. That would be the California trifecta. I keep extra water and snack foods in my car, plus an interesting novel, a change of clothes, a blanket, some duct tape and wire, and a few tools such as an axe, a crowbar and a shovel -- plus a small tarp.
The thing is -- and let's be cheerful about this -- you could get stuck somewhere in your car and all of a sudden it's your home for the rest of the day. Be prepared.
Same with your home. Keep supplies handy, bottled water and candles, etc. I make sure we have plenty of coffee and the means to cook it. The rest I can fake.
Our uphill neighbor has been shoring up his terraces with extra pilings, as if he had a premonition of stormy weather. He wants to prevent his property from sliding downhill into our property. I hope that works.  We are going to make similar adjustments, hoping to steer possible rushing waters away from habitable sheds and stuff like that.
But the key to survival in California is to have no concern for the future. Smile every day. Laugh. Go to the beach and watch the pelicans. Eat lots of avocados. We're not going to change who we are, but just get better at it.

The Edison Eye. If you ever get to the Skagit Valley visit the Edison Eye, a wonderful art gallery in the small village of Edison.
The Eye was founded by my good friend Dana Rust. He died in 2013 and I miss him.

I had a dream about him. In the dream we visited the gallery and his wife Tony Ann Rust was there to greet us, and she looked great, all smiles and freckles and red hair, and the gallery all sparkled with freshly polished wood work.
But Dana was gone, in the dream. And when I woke up I felt sad. My good friend Dana Rust is gone.
I called Tony Ann the next day and told her about the dream and we had a good conversation catching up with old times. She used to be the teacher at Head Start on the Swinomish Reservation. That was thirty years ago when my two kids were pre-schoolers.
Tony Ann is doing fine. The Edison Eye gallery is under new management and doing fine and Dana has gone fishing in heaven.

Frog Hospital Subscription Drive.   Your contribution of $25 is greatly appreciated. The Frog Hospital newsletter has been cruising down the Internet for 16 years now. I have tried to kill this newsletter several times – tried to stomp it out like the ember from an old campfire, or dig it up like a pestiferous weed, but it won’t die – Frog Hospital just keeps on going.
So please send a check. Your contribution keeps me from getting cranky. It helps me to maintain a detached attitude. Let’s keep it going….

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Fred Owens
1105 Veronica Springs RD
Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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