Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Politics Is A Dirty Business

Hi Bill

Pat and I became obsessed with the presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the last few months. We were certain that Hillary would be elected. Who in their right mind would vote for the guy? Well there seems to have been a strong hidden undercurrent of support for the guy that we never even considered to be possible. We all know the results of the election and now we must accept him as our Commander and Chief and even hope for his success.

Well, you are probably thinking that this blog post is another thought piece about the now completed (Thank God!) presidential election. However, it is not about that campaign or election. Instead it is about my one and only political (well semi-political) campaign back when I was a senior in high school. I realize that there is really no comparison between the now completed presidential election and my little high school run for office. However, the presidential election somehow reminded me of my high school political exploits.

During my senior year in high school, I decided to run for one of the Student Association officer positions for some reason. Thinking back, I don’t think it was my idea to seek a Student Association officer position. I believe it was my friends, Mac and Frank, who encouraged me to give up my integrity and run for office. I really had not considered participating in anything like that. However, I had held officer positions in my DeMolay chapter and I thought that probably provided a decent foundation for a run at a position among my senior class high school Student Association officers. At that time, I really had no idea what those Student Association officers did. I don’t remember ever paying much attention to the Student Association previously.

Well, with encouragement from my "homeboys", I decided to run for a Student Association officer position. However, I remember trying to decide which office to aim at. Let’s face it, I was never presidential in any way and I did not want any important responsibilities to worry about. So the President position was off the table! The Secretary position probably required taking and typing notes of meetings and distributing them to classmates, which seemed like too much responsibility for me. Forget that one too! The Treasurer position involved collecting dues, keeping track of the budget and paying bills and I didn’t feel responsible enough to handle any of that stuff. So that one was also nixed! That left the Vice President position, which seemed to be responsible for nothing and no one. Bingo! That’s The Office I Wanted!  

With Frank and Mac as my campaign chairmen I began my campaign for Vice President. While agonizing over the decision to run for the office, I had forgotten that the senior class officers were usually the previous year’s officers. Therefore, my friend Marshall W, who had served as the Vice President of the junior class, was expecting to be reelected to the senior class office. I worried that Marshall and his friends were not going to be happy about my competing for the office. Marshall was (and still is) a good guy (and also a big and strong guy) and I did not particularly want to irritate him. It was a little awkward, but I don’t remember any serious friction between Marshal and me during my election challenge.

Frank, Mac and I decided that we needed to create some cool campaign posters instead of the usual “Please Vote for Me” posters. Believe it or not, I still have one of the posters that we created. Frank, Mac and I came up with the ideas for this poster and we got some help with the drawing from my father:

One of my campaign posters
Click to Enlarge

I also had to deliver a “Please Vote for Me!” speech over the school PA system. Again, believe it or not, I still have my hand-printed copy of that speech, which I typed below:

This is Clark Hallman, Class of 67 Vice Presidential candidate.

Today is the Big Day. The day of the General Election. The day when you must choose the officers who will lead our class in not only the coming year, but also in the years that follow graduation.

I know that today at the polls you will choose officers who are capable and worthy of leading our class. Our class is the greatest class in the world and I’m proud to be a member of it.

The office of senior class Vice President, to which I am seeking election is a very important post.

I do not feel that it is necessary for me to name my qualifications. You as a voter should have checked into those yourself. Also I’m not going to make any promises except one, and that is that if I’m elected I’ll work to the best of my ability to serve our class.

I decided to run for this office because I wanted to do something for my class and I feel that as it’s senior class Vice President I could serve it best.

My opponent has served his class both in sports and as Vice President. He has done a fine job.

However, now it’s my turn. Please give me this opportunity by voting for me in the election today.

Thank you.

What a bunch of crap, huh!  I can’t believe how I totally avoided any description of experiences or qualifications that I thought might have prepared me for a post among the class officers. 

Me, Gail D, Scott M and Barbara M
Click to Enlarge

Well to my surprise I was elected Vice President. I joined Scott M. (President), Barbara M. (Treasurer), and Gail D. (Secretary) as a 1967 class officer. I tried to carry out all the important duties of the office, but without much enthusiasm. I appeared at the Student Association meetings, but participated as little as possible. I attended all (or at least most) of the social events, i.e., dances etc., that the Student Association sponsored. (That was a tough duty, huh!) I like to think that I also helped some with other responsibilities and events. However, my previous assessment of the Vice President’s responsibilities was accurate. I really didn’t have much to do and that’s what I was shooting for at the time. 

Actually, I believe probably the main reason I decided to try to become a class officer was because Barbara M. was one of those officers, but we don’t need to turn over that rock right now! 

Luckily, I was good friends with most of my classmates, even though they were a fairly large group, as you can see from the following class photographs: 

My 1967 High School Class
Click to Enlarge

When I think about those high school years I have good feelings, but also some regrets, because I should have been more serious about some responsibilities and I should have treated some of my classmates better. I pretty much just coasted through high school, but somehow I must have acquired at least an inkling of responsible behavior that I was able to enhance during college and my adult life.

Bill, I would enjoy hearing (or reading) about your experiences in a much larger high school than I experienced.

I hope you and your family are well, happy and prosperous.

Take Care.



Friday, November 4, 2016

More Family and Records in Fargo

Hi Bill

Today I decided to write about another trip to Fargo, ND. You probably have heard us talk many times about Fargo/Moorhead, where both Rayna and Zeb went to college. Rayna eventually returned to South Dakota, but Zeb is still living in Fargo and has no plans to return to South Dakota, except for family visits.

Anyway, Pat, Rayna and I were in Fargo again this past weekend. Yes, we had been in Fargo about a month ago to spend some time with Zeb, our talented and beloved son. Nevertheless, we made the three-and-a-half-hour drive north on I-29 again on Friday, October 28th. We arrived in Fargo at about 5:30pm and we hung around our room at the Holiday Inn Express until Zeb finished work. Then we met him at a nearby Culvers for a meal. After we finished eating, we hung out at the Barnes & Noble where some vinyl fell into our hands (amazing how that happens). However, Pat and I were very tired and we went to our hotel room to relax for the evening, while Rayna went to Zeb’s apartment for the night.

Fargo Record Fair

Saturday morning Pat and I had a nice breakfast in the hotel and then Zeb and Rayna picked me up and took me to the Fargo Record Fair, which is a major attraction for vinyl music addicts. Pat did not accompany us to the fair. She does not suffer from our vinyl addiction, but has her own cross-stitch monkey to obey. Anyway, Rayna, Zeb and I were eager to attend the annual Fargo Record Fair, which has been connecting vinyl music lovers with wonderful albums each fall for about five years. The large Air Museum hangar at the Fargo Airport has been the venue for the Record Fair since it began. I had attended a previous Fargo Record Fair last year, but I was not well-prepared with a desiderata list or enough money at that one. However, I was well prepared at this one and it was a very enjoyable experience.

There was a $3 entrance fee that we were happy to pay to enter the large hangar jammed with tables holding thousands of vinyl music albums. Of course, there were knowledgeable and friendly vinyl collectors at the tables to help us vinyl enthusiasts find the albums we were looking for and to answer our questions or just converse about music with us. We all had a great time at the record fair among our similarly-addicted vinyl geeks. Rayna, Zeb and I went our separate ways among the vinyl treasures, but when we saw albums that we knew the others would like we let them know where they could be found. It was lots of fun to flip through all kinds of music albums and to talk with strangers about their favorite music, their collections and their treasured album finds. It was a very pleasurable and friendly event, where total strangers would converse about their favorite music and musicians. Rayna and I were also happy to meet Jim, one of Zeb’s good friends. He joined us at the fair and he even helped us find some albums that we were seeking. Zeb also encountered several other people that he knew at the event.

My Vinyl Spoils

James Brown – Live At the Apollo Vol. II: I had been looking for this two-album gem for a long time but could not find it in good enough condition for a price that I was willing to pay. However, I succeeded at the music fair.

James Brown Live At The Apollo Vol II 

The Rolling Stones – 12 X 5: Somehow I had never acquired this second album by the Stones, but I always wanted it.

Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain: I have needed this one for many years. 

U2 – The Joshua Tree: Another one I have needed for many years.

Sarah Vaughn – After Hours: I can’t have too many Sarah Vaughan albums.

U2 - Joshua Tree 

Marianne Faithfull – Dangerous Acquaintances and A Childs Adventure: I have this THING about Marianne Faithfull and need to acquire all of her recordings.

Dusty Springfield – A Brand New Me: I just like Dusty Springfield (although Pat does not like her).

George Harrison – Thirty Three & 1/3: I must also acquire all of George Harrison’s albums.

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas: Sometimes I need to revisit my teenage years.

Sarah Vaughan - After Hours

The Chiffons – Sweet Talking’ Guy: Another visit with my teenage years.

I would have purchased many other albums, but I had spent enough on these 11 albums. It was interesting that both Zeb and Rayna also ended their vinyl quests with 11 albums. I should also note that Pat bought vinyl record album tote bags, which made it much easier to lug our spoils through the fair and keep them safe. Many people complemented us about those tote bags and asked where we purchased them (Barnes & Noble).

Family Time

After the fair we met Pat at Zeb’s apartment and Zeb and I walked to Erbert’s & Gerbert’s to pick up some sandwiches for a late lunch. We sat in Zeb’s apartment talking and eating for a while. Then Pat and I went back to the hotel to relax while Rayna and Zeb went to take some photos for Rayna’s blog. Later we met at Zeb’s apartment again and Zeb and I walked to a downtown pizza shop for takeout. Then we hung out in his apartment for a few hours of conversation, before Pat and I returned to our hotel for the night. Pat and I had a light breakfast Sunday morning at the hotel and then we met Rayna and Zeb at Perkins for our traditional visit-ending brunch before we made the drive back to South Dakota.

It was another very pleasing family visit and I now have even more vinyl to enjoy. I am so lucky to have a family that tolerates my strange and persistent behaviors, attitudes and pastimes. I am also lucky to have a family that actually likes to spend time with each other, although we wouldn’t want to get together on a daily basis. You probably know how that works.

Anyway, I hope you and your family are happy and healthy. Please let them all know that we often think about them and send good thoughts their way.

Take care.