Gallopin’ Grandma: Why another election?

By on October 29, 2014

My father, (left), world’s most unregenerate Republican, and my husband in Iowa, 1970.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – My father was a rock-ribbed Republican; he never gave up. He voted for Hoover, everyone else voted for Roosevelt. He voted for Alf Landon, everyone else voted for Roosevelt. He voted for Willkie, everyone else voted for Roosevelt. He voted for Dewey, same thing. When he finally voted for someone who won, he couldn’t believe it. My mother voted for Kennedy, but she took that secret to the grave.

The name Roosevelt was never uttered in our house. On one occasion, Eleanor came to our Iowa town, but my mother and her harpy friends didn’t like her. She was a frump. Her dress was frumpy, her shoes frumpy, and it was clear that she didn’t feel the need to dress up for the local hicks of Corn Cob, Iowa. If she had been less of a frump, maybe Franklin would have liked her better.

It’s amazing how little things change over the years; the same issues never seem to go away. Take Pathways, which are little skinny roads no one can drive on but you can bike ride, hike, walk dogs on and all that healthy stuff. I think you don’t really need a little skinny road for that.

We had pathways in Iowa. We called them sidewalks and streets. We weren’t supposed to bike ride on the sidewalks, but we did. Weaving through street traffic and running old ladies off the sidewalks was part of growing up. Many of us lived on alleyways where your garage was in the alley and as long as you didn’t get hit by the garbage truck or chased by a gang of dogs, you’d be OK. I lived on a railroad track and we could use that too as long as we avoided the 6 a.m. mail train and its return at 10 p.m. It whistled though, and gave us time to get off the track.

The big debate in the 1940s was the feasibility of a “pathway” across Iowa, or in other words a toll road. It would run from Nebraska to Illinois and you’d have to pay to use it. Who on earth would pay to drive to Nebraska? Not only that, it would bypass all those little hick towns, and there wasn’t a chance of it succeeding. Of course, we did get the mother of all pathways eventually, called I-80. We can now shoot from Nebraska to Illinois free of charge and get to pass the biggest truck stop in the world. Now that’s a pathway!

The other big issue was the huge salary the state was paying the football coach at the University of Iowa. He actually made more than the governor, but then the governor wasn’t coaching a winning football team.

Every time there is a even a dog catcher election, all the big city news people swarm to Iowa to find out what we think, as if anybody cared. I can’t imagine why but I did see that there is a woman running for the U.S. Senate and I saw a picture of her waving a gun at someone, so maybe things have changed. My friend Gertrude, the big mamma pig back at the farm, said that one year while she was recovering in her pig pen from a romantic rendezvous with Elvis, the neighbor’s cute boar, she was literally attacked by a horde of news people who wanted to know who she was voting for.

She told them and they were displeased. “Madame,” they said. “Oink, is not an answer.” I happen to think that “oink” is a very good answer. It would have been mine.

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