Iowa State Fair


Or maybe just I am.

Dad’s first cousin on his mom’s side, Joe Fagan, got up in GOP hopeful Mitt Romney‘s eager to be POTUS face today on the subject of Medicare and Social Security. While I don’t disagree with Romney that given its current trajectory Medicare and SS benefits aren’t particularly sustainable given the current and projected worker to retired person ratio, I applaud Joe for exposing Romney for the corp whore twat he is.

“Corporations are people, my friend.”*

Dear Universe, hear me while I scream until my tonsils burst into flames.

My earliest memories of Joe are his visits when he was attending seminary in Dubuque. He would stop by in the evenings, sometimes bringing along a fellow classmate, and he and Dad would reminisce and argue about current events and politics. It was the late 1960’s. Joe was ten years younger than my Dad, who’d served in the Navy in the last months of WWII. To say that they disagreed in those turbulent times would be understating.

Joe admired Dr. King and supported Bobby Kennedy. Dad didn’t understand civil protests and voted for Nixon – every single time.

But Dad always said, “Joe stands up for what he believes is right.”

The organization Joe worked for in Des Moines for decades until his retirement not long ago has been accused of being “socialist”, which in Iowa – indeed anywhere in America these days – is code for “not American”. But they fought for the underprivileged, the working poor, the over-looked and the people who are and will continue to bear the brunt of the economic slide.

He never sought fame or power or riches. He was a working guy with a wife, who taught school before becoming a principal, and two kids.

By standing up and not letting Romney shush him with charm and platitudes, Joe Fagan was doing what every American has the right to do – question the motives of those who seek to lead us. To rule us.

Good on , cuz!

*This statement – destined to be a POTUS 2012 classic – is apparently already available on t-shirts with bumper stickers to follow I imagine.


Much as I would rather leave the day uncommented upon, I can’t. It’s my seventh wedding anniversary. I would say “ours”, but there is no “us” anymore. It’s just my day to ruminate now.

I am not sure what I expected of today. It’s just a Sunday. I had actually forgotten that today was going to be the 13th until just the other day, a consequence more of summer vacation than of denial.  Teachers are notorious for losing track of the days of the week and dates of the month during the summer. August especially.

No one remembered but me. At least I think I am the only one who remembered. Perhaps others did and didn’t know what to say. There isn’t a Hallmark card for the occasion that I have ever seen and what would it say if there was? Happy Anniversary to you except maybe not the “happy” part seeing how your husband is too dead to enjoy it with you and come to think of it maybe you aren’t enjoying it due to the “dead’ thing.

And are you still allowed to count the years? I think not but I am new at this. Six and a almost half years is what we got officially on the clock. Today would make it seven but yet it’s not seven technically, right? It would have been nice for someone to acknowledge the day, though I didn’t.

I didn’t even mention it to my daughter (mine, not ours). I took her to the State Fair instead. Pushed her around through crowds of fat people. Really fat people who probably never go outside at all the entire summer long yet inexplicably go to the State Fair on days when the dewpoint is dripping. Because everything there is deep-fried? I am thinking that is too easy an explanation.

We saw Cifford at the Varied Industries Building and collected pencils from community colleges and non-permanent tattoos from radio stations and the Girl Scouts. She rode the carousel. It’s the only ride on the midway that doesn’t scare the hell out of her. I bought her a girly pink cowboy hat with a tiara on it, but the only time she wore it was when we went through the barn where the horses were boarded.

She ate a popsicle though she wanted a salad. I couldn’t find a single food-stand that sold salad. Lettuce cannot be deep-fried. I really wanted to take her on the little train that circled the south eastern part of the grounds. She was looking forward to it. She loves trains. But when we went to look for it, all we could find were the few tracks that couldn’t be dug up because they were set in cement.

Later the man at the information booth told us that the train was gone. The elderly man who had cared for the train, and ran it every year, had died. And with him the little train. Kinda of like my anniversary. My husband died and took it with him when he went.

The day before our wedding was spent at the Fair with my brother and his daughter and my sister and her son. We rode that little train. My nephew was five and my niece was four, the same age as my daughter now.

Seven years. My daughter’s only memory of that train will be those tracks planted in the cement. The only memories of her father will be the ones I plant in her mind.