Sunday, 1-6-2002


It was my appointed task to check with Jim Gustafson today to see if he would be willing to run for the Senate if both Swapinsky and Yvonne Prettner Solon file for the DFL primary. I caught him milling around the coffee table after church and discovered that he was cool to the idea. He didn't mind running against Dale but he didn't want to run against Yvonne. He was sure she would win the primary. 

Then Dick Pearson, accosted me at the coffee table. Dick retired as the Duluth school superintendent in 1986 after 14 years of service. He had been asked to introduce me at the Wednesday Men's breakfast where I was to talk about the Duluth School District. He'd asked me a week earlier for a resume to work from but I hadn't gotten around to writing one up. 

I told Dick I'd get to work on one immediately and asked if we could get together before the men's meeting so that I could pick his brain about his experiences as Superintendent. I'd asked him years ago to brief me but had never gotten around to calling him up to set up a meeting. This gave me my opportunity to do so and Dick was agreeable to the idea. I'm particularly interested to hear how he survived the last great recession in the early 1980's with it dramatic budget shortfall. 

Mary Lou and Shari both told me that they wanted to attend the breakfast and wondered if they could sneak in by wearing fake mustaches. I told them to check with the men's group. I warned Ellis that some women wanted to crash the party and he told me as far as he was concerned they could come. That was the politically correct response but I bet they don't come. 

We picked up Keely and Robb for breakfast and took them to Louis' Cafe. By coincidence our new joint-pastors the Weavers and their children followed us in. I recommended the walnut pancakes to them. We got to see a lot of them this particular Sunday. 

Claudia and I were busy at Church most of the day. We went back at 4 for an Epiphany celebration. Claudia had baked bars and prepared a soup and craft projects. We spent three hours in "Fellowship Hall" cooking, crafting and cleaning for a grand total of six hours at church. This didn't count the many hours Claudia spent on Saturday preparing for her Sunday school lesson or readying the craft projects. When the day was finally over Claudia told me to never, ever, let her volunteer again.

Claudia had just enough energy to watch Malcolm in the Middle with me. I stayed on to watch PBS's American Experience which was about Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow was the only Democrat my Grandfather George Robb ever voted for. 

That singular vote was the basis for a lecture my Grandfather gave me about not voting for a Democrat. He had done it once, he had told me, and it was the worst mistake of his life. It had been 1916 and Wilson had promised to keep America out of the war then raging in Europe. 

I doubt that this pledge was the only reason my Grandfather voted for the man. Wilson was the reform Governor of New Jersey while my Grandfather was earning his masters degree at neighboring New York's Columbia University. It occurred to me that Wilson's reputation for integrity must have appealed to my grandfather. My Mom has told me that her father's credo was a simple one which I can only paraphrase: A man's reputation is his most valuable possession and once it is gone it is lost forever.

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