|April 20, 2021
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
Mondale 1928 - 2021
Today, newspapers and electronic mainstream media are
carrying the story of the death of 93 year old former Vice
President Walter Mondale, but
is a story that you probably won't see elsewhere, sent
to me by my daughter, a resident of North Oaks, Minnesota.
Back in 1983, this was a big deal for the gated
community, "Fritz", as he was known to friends,
was a likeable Minnesota native. I met him twice, once back
in the mid-1960's on an early Saturday morning in front of a
grocery store, where he was handing out his election
brochures and campaigning for office. It was still pretty
early, and I had a chance to spend a couple of minutes with
him. He was one of those fellows you would like instantly.
Tiny North Oaks, Minnesota Survives Mondale Invasion
an occasional motorcade or a van of reporters glided up or
down the streets of the lake-and-tree-covered subdivision of
North Oaks, Minnesota. The suburb is so preoccupied with
security that the entire 5,100-acre subdivision is private
property. Even the streets are owned by a property owners
association, with signs warning that all except residents
Several years later, as Vice
President, he loved to fly Air Force Two up to International
Falls on summer fishing trips. I was vice president of the
local bank, and before he started doing that the local
airport was just a typical small town one. The men's room
had just one faucet on the sink, cold water, and for some
reason, it was painted red. After Mondale started showing
up, so did a lot of government money to make the place one
of the finest small town airports in America.
lunchtime one summer day, I got a call from my friend Dave
at the newspaper, "Ron, Mondale's going to be at
the Holiday Inn, let's go over there for lunch." So
we did, walked right in the place, no security, and waited
in the lobby for a couple of minutes. Then, a side door
opened, and there he was, accompanied by four or five Secret
Service agents, and he started shaking hands with everyone
as he made his way to a private dining room. Everyone
included Dave and me.
Fritz was up for one of his
fishing trips, those Secret Service guys always came to town
a few days early to check things out, including the local
characters. Strange, they never talked to me. Wearing suits,
dark glasses, and whispering into their cufflinks, they
blended right in, where the only other people in town
wearing a necktie worked at the bank or a law office.
remember Dave and I tried to guess just how much those
walleyes were costing the taxpayers. Whatever we came up
with, it was a big number. I complain now when the Minnesota
reservation Native Americans sell them at local grocery
stores for $17 a pound. But i have to admit, that if you've
ever had a good walleye dinner, it is worth all of that.
Good memories from good times.
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