Here’s Garrison Keillor’s nostalgic look, through the lens of an election year, at the past:
“Life is good if you have your health and not all bad even if you don’t, which is sometimes forgotten in an election year, what with the high-pitched oratory on behalf of the embittered rich and people with ingrown toenails and what not.
“Apparently we are on the verge of losing our Second Amendment rights and will need to defend ourselves with tent stakes and bug spray. So I’ve heard people say.
“I had an uncle, a farmer, who suffered from chronic hemorrhoids but he knew a druggist who sold an ointment made from opium and wormwood and it worked like a charm.
“The druggist was Catholic and we were born-again so there was moral compromise involved but when Uncle Gene was in need, he eased himself into his 1947 Ford with his special doughnut cushion and drove to town and got the cure. An illegal drug sold by a man who sent money to buy golden shoelaces for the pope, but what the heck? Gene was a farmer and the tractor seat was hard and there were bumps.
“This is the amiable America I grew up in. You didn’t blame your hemorrhoids on the party in power in Washington.
“I loved the old America where children roamed the neighborhood unsupervised and you hitchhiked and got to meet strangers. You knew people’s jobs then. My Uncle Lawrence fixed cars, my dad was a carpenter: You watched him run the board through the circular saw and brace it against the joists and nail it into place.
“Uncle Aldridge was a small-town doctor — I once watched him, at the supper table, extract a fishing lure from the eyebrow of a weeping boy while the rest of us sat and ate our meatloaf and string beans.
“The old America endures, as long as baseball endures, or gardening, or joke-telling, or the state fair where people go to see pigs the size of Volkswagens and ride inside something like a salad spinner. It endures along with church suppers.
“The Myrtles and Gertrudes who were the brains of the church supper movement faded away, but the suppers survive in small towns, a cultural institution.
“If you were a Syrian refugee resettled in Grover’s Corners, you should come to church suppers. Buy a raffle ticket to win the outboard motor and sit down with a plate of beans and baked chicken, potato salad, a roll, a slab of pie, and learn the art of small talk.”
CAPE BRETON ISLAND, Nova Scotia
This from CNN, CBC and Forbes - “ As we wound down a series of switchbacks toward the Seal Island Bridge, my ears popping as we left the rolling green highlands behind and descended to Bras d'Or, a massive inland sea, Donny Hall said that he was surprised at the worldwide attention Cape Breton was currently attracting” before the Nov. 8 election.
“Hall worked for years in a coal mine, once the dominant industry in this remote part of Nova Scotia.
“But now, with the coal mines closed, tourism has become the primary industry, and calls have been coming from all over the world from people who had never heard of Cape Breton, inquiring about hotels and restaurants and things to see and do.
"It all started as a joke," he said, with just a hint of a maritime accent, a lilt that echoes the area's Scottish past. "We never expected all this."
“What happened? A website launched this year entitled ‘Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins.’”
Frau told the writer of this weakly nonsense, a descendant of Nova Scotians, she wouldn’t leave the good ole U. S. of A. for an island that protrudes into the cold and windy North Atlantic.
Columnist Al Bruce is the aforementioned scribe.