Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Minnesota Blues

I’m singin’ the Minnesota Blues
by Charlie Leck

The temps strolled on past 100 degrees yesterday and the humidity index hovered around 80. That’s bad stuff for nearly everyone, but it’s really tough on old guys who are out of shape. I ventured out a couple of times and found myself sucking hot air that heated up my throat and lungs and I didn’t like it. I retreated to the air conditioning. Even in the cool house I felt sluggish all day long.

Highways were buckling in the heat today. Interstate 94 threw-up a section right near downtown, just before the highway goes under the city through what we all call the Lowry Tunnel.

Our animals – the sheep and horses – are suffering, but we’re making sure they have plenty of water and shade.

I wondered about old people who don’t have air conditioning in their homes. The idea made me feel so revolting that I sponged away the thoughts. We’ll read in the paper tomorrow about people who died in their hot homes.

This is the state I love about as much as anyone can love a place – a parcel with boundaries that form one of the great 50 states of the Union. Right now, however, it’s a hang-dog place and it sucks. It’s not just the heat and humidity. It’s also the political atmosphere and the sense of selfishness I’m hearing out of so many politicians. Our state government is still shut down. It’s been nearly three weeks now. It’s a political mess and most of us – the voters – are pretty fed up.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (Republican, Buffalo, MN) has got to go. I hope voters see her for what she is in the 2012 elections (if she’s up for reelection). She’s a vacuous sort of person who can’t even control her own party. She latched on to a mantra and won’t let it go for the sake of common sense and decency for our state. Her senate district is close enough to my own that I’ll get involved in her next reelection bid and work against her. She closed a deal with the Governor on this budget impasse and it looked like we’d get government opened up and working again, but she couldn’t get enough votes out of her own party to pass the compromise.

I’ve got a sneaky feeling that the Tea Party isn’t as universally liked as a lot of people believe it is. This state crisis can be laid at the feet of the Tea Party types and nearly the entire blame can be placed on their shoulders. I’m angry at them and so are a lot of other Minnesotans. When we gophers get angry we can react much more like giant black bears. That’s what will happen in the 2012 state elections. Republicans will be defenseless in that election and dozens of them will be thrown from office.

I’m just off a two week vacation. I had family surrounding me for the entire time. All the grandkids were here. Most of my kids were home for the family reunion and suffocating us with love and attention (I loved every second of it). Though the weather was lousy and the news was awful each and every day, I managed to soak up a lot of love and enjoyed our family retreat. I’ll give the Grandview Lodge, up in Nisswa, Minnesota, four and one-half stars out of five for the way they treated us. The resort really caters to kids and there are so many activities from which to choose every day that it’s a delight to hem and haw over the choices. The food options are also wonderful. And, the golf is great for the parents who can sneak away during the day. And, after spending a week there in a beautiful home, I don’t need to sell the farm in order to pay the bill.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few photos I took during the grandkids' visit.


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