Mr. Alexander Goes to Denver: Part 3

bob-and-eboney-at-bcp.jpg On our last full day in Denver, we were all pretty tired. Ryan and Eboney (“the children”) slept in, and those of us in our respective dotages were up and working early on blog posts, video editing and setting up meetings for the day. We were napping when Michael got a call from Marianne Williamson’s assistant, saying that she was in downtown Denver and ready to see us immediately.  Showers were had, faces were shaved, and we flew to the Hyatt to film a video of Marianne supporting Bob. This astonishingly good opportunity is another example of the strength of Bob’s “peace people” connections.

Bob scored a ticket for the Convention floor, and we relaxed and watched Joe and Bill on TV while he was gone.  Our last Convention event, post-Pepsi Center, was the Black Caucus party, sponsored by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators We were in high spirits after a good day’s work, particularly the meeting with Marianne Williamson, but we were not sufficiently elated to approve Michael and Ryan’s plan to live life to the fullest by going out with open shirts, visible chest hairs, and necklaces. Appropriately dressed, we piled into the Malibu to drive to the Denver Public Library where the Caucus party was to be held.

On the way, Michael remarked that “there’s a freakin’ Republican conspiracy in Denver regarding GPS screw-ups,” and that he had “never seen such a constellation of GPS errors.”  Despite our assurances that the GOP was too busy deciding whether to upstage us by announcing McCain’s running mate right before Obama’s Thursday night speech, Michael remained convinced that they were messing with the satellite signal in Denver.

The Denver Public Library includes a museum of African-American history, and the Black Caucus party took place on three floors of library with museum exhibits on the top two floors. The party was attended by a wide variety of Convention attendees, with a hugely disproportionate number from Michigan and Chicago. It was a class act right from the start, with a warm welcome from greeters in black dresses at the Library’s front desk (even for those of us who were not on the official list because we were, uhm, crashing).  

food-at-bcp.jpg Because I am really a foodie, and I have restrained myself for two days, I have to talk a bit about the food. There was an “old fashioned potato bar,” with three kinds of mashed potatoes: wasabi, sweet potato, and “regular mash” served in oversize martini glass with bowls of topping available.  I sampled “Italian Caviar” which consisted of little balls of mozzarella, onions, Kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, capers, and tomatoes garnished with parsley and drizzled with balsamic vinegar (also in a martini glass), and “Steakum Shooters,” little chunks of steak, chimichurri, avocado, and pico de gallo, all in a shot glass. Life is more than just politics, you know.

After some mingling, The Reverend Michael Murphy of Lansing, Michigan gave an invocation, and awards were given to influential Black politicians.  The presenters were trailblazing black politicians first elected in the 1970s, including George Cushingberry, one of the youngest elected state representatives in Michigan history. One award recipient, Illinois state Senator Emil  Jones, exhorted the crowd to do as Barack Obama has done, and “use the influence and the power that you have to build the next generation.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, brown or blue.

After the speakers finished, Michael and I spent some time with a gentleman named John, who was sauteéing raw shrimp, with ginger, green onions, snow pea pods, cilantro, tomato, wasabi and sesame seeds to be served in a Chinese take-out box with chop sticks. According to John “Denver is the best-kept secret of food towns.” He recommended Elways and d Bar Desserts, owned by Keegan Gerhard of Food Network competition fame. (He’s the guy with the funky glasses who tells everyone to put their spatulas down when time is up). We also chatted with Chiquita, the head of the catering operation as she was feverishly working to arrange the cake table in preparation for the cake cutting.

bcp-cake.jpg This event, of all the parties at the Convention, was definitely the best musically and culinarily, but more important (although its hard to tell from my food-laden narrative) it was also the event where we had the most serious, interesting political discussions, and where the sentiments and ideas seemed the most heartfelt. Its no secret that a lot of what goes on at a Convention is PR; this was a glimpse into the work of people like Bob, who became politicians to fight for social justice and real equality.

After driving back to the hotel, and several rounds of drinks in the lobby bar, Eboney, Ryan, Michael, and I got back into the Malibu and drove and drove around looking for (more) food. We eventually found Del Taco at a gas station and we bought tacos which we ate with relatively little finesse, apologizing to the night vacuum operator for spilling taco lettuce on the lobby carpet at 2 a.m..

Michael reports that when he woke up this morning, Bob was getting ready for his final appearance at the daily Michigan Democratic Party breakfast. “Need anything?” asked Michael. Bob’s response: “four hundred thousand dollars—by ten o’clock.”

P.S. As these dispatches from Denver end, I must thank Michael Masterson, the better half of my brain, without whom none of this could have been written. 

Ann Graham Nichols cooks and writes the Forest Street Kitchen blog in East Lansing, Michigan where she lives in a 1912 house with her husband, her son and an improbable number of animals.