In 1968, our neighborhood Good Humor Man ran for President of the United States.
It was a huge story in my home town of Highland Park, Illinois. And since we’ve arrived at the fortieth anniversary of this man’s candidacy, it seemed like a good time to tell it again.
His name was Don DuMont, a 64-year-old Republican who described himself as an “old-fashioned, up-to-date, Good Humored square with rounded corners.”
Stepping out of his white ice cream truck, dressed in his white uniform and white hat with his white hair, he appeared before us like an angel – a big, husky, right wing angel. But with no wings. At least none that could carry him all the way to the White House.
I’m sitting in Barack Obama’s campaign office in Dover, New Hampshire. It is 3:30 in the afternoon on Monday, January 7; the day before New Hampshire’s primary. Tomorrow, my typically humble state has the duty to be the first in the nation to choose by ballot its Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.
The campaign office is buzzing. I, along with most of the other volunteers, have just returned from our first shift of canvassing around our small town. I’ve been on foot (or tush, as I’ve fallen countless times on icy sidewalks) for four hours trying to convince local voters to vote for Senator Obama tomorrow. I’m exhausted and I’m hungry; however, my day is immediately brightened.
With a state fair that has long been dubbed “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” it should be no surprise that even on the most frigid days of winter, Minnesotans love to get together. And they love to gather with food.
These days, you may find friends discussing politics over a plate of Minnesota hotdish or Scandinavian meatballs and mashed potatoes as they debate over their presidential preferences in a small diner in downtown Bemidji called Minnesota Nice.
In a Minneapolis suburb, there’s a good chance you’ll find a table of women enjoying gigantic caramel rolls and cups of hot coffee at Good Day Café. Their conversation may include a debate on whether or not Al Franken really is serious about fighting for Minnesota families.
On Super Tuesday, the Republican Party of Minnesota, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Independence Party of Minnesota will all hold caucuses. We like to think of them as neighborhood meetings. Will they include food? I’m not sure. But, if I could choose one dish to serve to all, it would include a couple of ingredients that Minnesotans are familiar with. It would be hot and hearty. Something close to a hotdish -- that Minnesota mix of a variety of ingredients baked in a casserole -- but different.
Election anxiety? Key Lime Martinis and Go With the Flow Curry should alleviate the stress.
(So, the Palm Beach Police just discovered a dead body in the closet of one of our Palm Beach landmark mansions! He was the 1936 Hide and Seek Champion… Very funny, very funny)
Everyone in Palm Beach likes to talk about the candidates, but no one wants to talk about voting, for hanging chads and other ridiculous screw-ups are still an open wound to the once proud community. What to do…
Today a goal of my adult lifetime was realized. In 1970 I was involved in the Student Strikes at Syracuse University following the killing of students at Kent State University while they were protesting the Vietnam War. I was an anti-war activist and reported on the strikes for the local public radio station.
But I was not yet an active Feminist. That came later when, as the first woman instructor in the Radio/TV division of the University of Missouri at Kansas City, I was denied a vote in Department meetings. But I was expected to make the coffee and do a donut run for the men who would attend the meetings. I purposely made the coffee badly and was taken off the task. I then started reporting on the activities and protests of the Kansas City Women’s Liberation Union. I produced a weekly radio program on the NPR station called “New World Coming” from 1972 to 1974. I attended protests for equal rights. I know I have a dusty file in the Kansas City office of the FBI because of my activism.
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