July 5, 2011

4th of July Parade in Clear Lake, Iowa


4th of July Parade in Clear Lake, Iowa
Shortarmguy's Diary Update for July 4, 2011

On Monday, Nor-Tech sponsored a hole at the Team Fox Fundraising Golf Tournament to help find a cure for Parkinson's Disease.  I hope we did a better job at raising money than we did at playing golf.


We played at the Minneapolis Country Club which is quite a beautiful course.  Much too nice of a course for a guy with my golfing abilities.  I guess I can say I really left my mark on the course, but other people would probably just say I left some big divots.


Local legend, Wally the Beer Man, was there to help me forget my game.  Wally told me that it's now been more than 40 years that he's been serving beer at Twin Cities sporting events which is a whole bunch of booze!!  Beer Here!


Since we had big plans for the holiday weekend, I thought it would be nice to try a new hairstyle.  I started losing my hair about 10 years ago and had been sporting the comb-over look for most of that time.  I know that style went out of fashion back in the seventies, but I kept hoping it was going to make a comeback.  My friend Karl told me to check out Eric the Barber at Savage Kreations and he'd help me find a new look so I went to him and had my first clipper cut.  We're calling this phase 1 towards the journey to completely shave my head.


For the holiday weekend, we packed up the boat and headed down to my home town of Clear Lake, Iowa.  The building in the background was the condos I lived in throughout high school.  A lot of naughty stuff happened in that building back in those days.


We hooked up with our friends, Tim, Saree, Jason and Debbie at Farmer's Beach and dropped anchor for the afternoon.  When we were kids nobody ever took their boats to Farmer's Beach, but apparently now it's the big hangout to go to on the lake.  I was skeptical at first, but when we arrived I was surprised to discover quite the party scene.  At first, I thought we stumbled on to the set of a Girls Gone Wild video shoot, but every time I started chanting "Take it off"  all the ladies looked at me like I was a dirty old man.  So I started chanting in my head instead.


The boys were happy to find out that they didn't just have to hang out with the adults all day.  There were actually a couple people there who were their age.  Although after awhile when I started dancing on the back of the boat and wiggling my hips, I'm pretty sure I overheard them tell the girls that they didn't know who I was.


On Saturday night, I connected with Krazy Kory and Deputy Sheriff Ron "Sugarman" Myers at the Clear Lake Carnival.  I don't know what it is, but ever since Ron graduated from the police academy, he's had this really strange effect on the ladies.



On Monday, we joined the Hornbuckle clan to march in the Clear Lake parade to support the local chapter of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  We were quite honored to be able to have this opportunity.  I think they knew that we were pretty good marchers.


I bumped into the Mayor of Clear Lake, Nelson Crabb.  I didn't think he would remember me, but he greeted me with a big smile and shouted "The last time I saw you, you were hiding out in my rosebushes!"  Which happens to be true, but not a story I'm quite ready to share on shortarmguy.com.  Maybe I will when my boys turn 18.


I'd heard Michele Bachmann was going to be at the parade, but when I went up to her bus, I didn't see any sign of her.  I asked one of the parade organizers about it and was told she hadn't arrived yet which I found a bit surprising since the parade was scheduled to begin in about 20 minutes.  I then asked if there were any other potential presidential candidates at the event and was told "No".  I said that's too bad, because I heard Newt Gingrich was going to be there also.  The lady told me, "Oh yeah, he's here.  Go down that street over there and you'll find him."


I walked down the street and was a bit surprised to see Mr. Gingrich there without any crowds in sight.  He was talking to a reporter from the Washington Post and another guy who I assumed was a campaign worker.  The campaign worker waved me over and asked if I'd like a picture and I said "Oh, yeah."  I told Newt I was a big fan and wished him luck with his campaign.  I can't remember his exact response but it was something along the lines of "Yeah, we're going to need it."  He then told me to be sure to check out his website, Newt.org.  he was very nice to me, but I kind of felt bad for him because it looks like he doesn't seem to be generating anywhere near the interest that I later saw Michele Bachmann receiving.  Hopefully for him, he'll figure things out and regain some momentum.


After leaving Newt, I decided to wander back to the Bachmann bus and was stopped by the same reporter from the Washington Post.  Her name is Rosalind S Helderman and she used to just cover politics locally in Washington DC, but recently was promoted to start covering national events.  She asked me quite a few questions about the candidates and why I thought some preferred making a push in Iowa vs making a push in New Hampshire.  I spoke with her for about 10 minutes, but apparently my words aren't as fascinating as I think they are because she didn't quote me in her article which I later found on the Washington Post's website.  Oh well, I still have my parade marching skills to fall back on.


With about 2 minutes to go before the parade was set to start, Ms. Bachmann pulled up with an entourage and very much looked like a Rock Star with the crowd that started following her from the moment she stepped out of her vehicle.  A half dozen photographers followed her every move.  I'd heard from one of the parade organizers that she was going to stop by and see the float full of World War 2 veterans before she started the parade.  So I strategically placed myself in a spot that I knew she'd have to walk by.  Best of all, about 10 seconds after I took this picture, she reached up and gave me a long hug while I whispered sweet words of encouragement to her.  Whatever happens in the race going forward, nobody can take that moment away from us!


I love going back to Clear Lake.  Even though in the big scheme of things, I only lived there a small percentage of my life, the large proportion of the really good friends I have on the planet were people I met while I lived there.

I hadn't seen my old college roommate, John Finstad, in several years, so it was great to see him when we bumped into each other.  Naturally the conversation quickly turned to when we're going to collaborate again on a follow-up to out SMASH hit video we made back in the early 90's.  Hopefully we'll be ablr to do that soon, but here's that old video in case any of you somehow missed it:


I really have a ton of great stories from my weekend in Clear Lake, but it's pas midnight on a school night and I gotta get to bed.  Here's the other pictures I wanted to share, but you'll just have to guess on the stories behind each of them:


Happy 4th of July, everyone!!