- Member for
- 4 years 10 months
The first time I stepped in to a voting booth was the fall of 1974 in Tucson, and yes there were actually voting booths prior to the disco and Saturday Night Fever. On the ballot that day were former presidential candidates and Arizona political giants Barry Goldwater and Mo Udall up for reelection.
The first of November is next Saturday, and it’s time for no-shave November. Last year, fed up with shaving drudgery every morning, I decided to forgo the razor for a month to raise awareness and money for the American Cancer Society. I pledged $100 for the luxury of not shaving for a month. Halfway through, I bravely expanded No-Shave November and added December.
One Sunday, years ago, I was sitting in church listening to the sermon and honestly was more focused on what the afternoon held than what he was preaching. Pastor Reiner said something that caught my attention and, looking back, had a profound effect on my life. The pastor said a man’s work is a blessing from God. I had always enjoyed working and seldom dreaded going to work, but his words validated that it was OK for me to enjoy work.
I think all of us have experienced hunger to some degree. We may forget to eat breakfast, have to work through lunch or decide to diet. Our hunger pains are a minor inconvenience we cure with a quick trip to the cupboard, fridge, vending machine or drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant. While our hunger is either by design or a busy schedule, there are a growing number of people in our community who deal with a whole different level of hunger on a daily basis. Their fridges and cupboards are empty and they have no money for a single meal, much less to restock.
I tried to imagine sitting down at the kitchen table to discuss household finances, and I began by stating our budget this year is probably going to be about 10 times higher than usual. After reviving my spouse with smelling salts, I would calmly explain that there are just a lots of projects we have to get done if we want to still have running water, a flushable toilet and transportation. And not only that; a dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to out here on the Western Edge.
Technology has greatly improved our lives. Still, there are some technologies worth celebrating and others that, looking back, you think if I knew then what you know … maybe not so much. Recently while visiting a museum, I came across a phone booth and a bag phone on display. There is nothing that ages a person quite like seeing a technology in a museum that you grew up using and is now long gone, and another that was new technology you used decades ago. Years ago, I received my first bag phone.
There are few things that get this old fat guy hopping mad, largely because I don’t hop near as well as I did 30 years ago. Lately, what has me contemplating leaving the ground is when universities, school boards, city and county governments violate open meeting and record laws. What really is upsetting and becoming common is when violators claim they didn’t know the meeting or record should be open to the public.
There are some things that shouldn’t be a problem in America — and even less so in booming western North Dakota. Topping that list is hunger. There are many social services to feed the hungry, and still some of our neighbors go to sleep hungry. Many are working, but the area’s high cost of living and rent don’t measure up on payday.
I moved to Dickinson almost seven years ago. Like many of the folks moving here I, too, did so for employment. Unlike many that are moving here today, I had visited Dickinson and knew about the great quality of life here on the Western Edge. When folks ask me where I’m from, I always say Dickinson because it is now home for my wife and I. But know that being here seven years doesn’t come close to qualifying me as a native.
What the heck happened? I went to sleep on May 15, woke up yesterday morning and it was the first day of August. I feel like I’m in a “Twilight Zone” episode. One minute I fall asleep, dreaming of soaking up summer sun and enjoying all the great things about summer in North Dakota. The next thing I know, I wake up and summer is almost gone. Everybody looks so much older and tanned.