Trow da Bums Out

The drive from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to Rochester Minnesota is about ninety miles along a quiet country highway. It's a pleasant enough trip in the autumn. The fall foliage colors are near their peak. The John Deere Turbos and the R60 Gleaners are out in the fields along the road, harvesting the last of the year's corn. A good driver can progress quickly and without heed past the roadside pumpkins, cows and occasional bales of hay on the landscape of farms and modest front lawns. I was out on my way to lecture for my Jewish Studies continuing education extension course in Rochester.

There are few billboards along this highway after you get by the southern tier of the suburban extremities. I was driving this route back in 1990. Closer to Rochester, about seventy miles from the progressive Twin Cities, right next to Fox's Cafe and Standard Station, I found a rather blunt welcome to the republican municipality, twenty miles down the pike. To make its point against abortion, an indelicate billboard presented to motorists a depiction of a foetus at eight weeks.

But before I faced that abrupt greeting years back, as I drove south on Route 52, on a mild October day, temperature about 55 degrees, skies overcast and even a few ominous clouds on the horizon, and a few patches of blue clear sky came into view.

I was somewhere between Goodhue and Cannon Falls in Goodhue County, about forty miles past the airport and the Mendota bridge, a good fifteen miles before I reached the sleepy Zumbro River. I had not yet passed the Town of Zumbrota or the celebrated Zumbrota Cheese Mart. But the powerful signals of the metropolitan radio stations were starting to fade. And in that lull I sensed that here one might feel the gentle, steady pulse of America.

As I drove steadily south, I remember how I noticed that a homemade billboard stood facing the highway on a lawn beside a modest home. As I approached, the solitary hand-lettered plywood placard appeared independent, even self-reliant. When I came close enough to read its message I could see it announced one strident principle. The sign bore this three-word beat of 1990 citizen sentiment.


I’m endorsing this same crisp and clear platform for the election season of 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about a picture of the SAME fetus, with the words, "Eh, what's the big deal?"