Tommy G. Thompson getting up close and personal with the Previous Squire. That’s Mikeboy in the background. Probably in 1990. The site: the Bradley farm south of Sun Prairie. The Current Squire was in attendance on September 7, 2010 when the Bradleys host
"But now the days grow short
I'm in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine
from fine old kegs
from the brim to the dregs"
Like the Chairman of the Board sang, it's been a very good year and the best is yet to come. (Oooh, that's Tony Bennett.)
This Thursday is the first day of autumn but it already feels like it. This is Wisconsin's best season. Great weather to be outside. Maybe that explains my hectic schedule. Here are 7+ days in the life of the Squire of the Stately Manor, including an up-close-and-personal encounter with my chairman of the board.
Thursday, September 16
Walked 18 holes at Odana Hills for my golf league's season-ending tournament and was a better man for it. Not a better golfer, but a better man. Can't remember walking 18, ever. That was followed by our annual banquet at the Hilltop Inn on County P south of Cross Plains. Baked chicken and swiss steak, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy (my beverage of choice). The assembled delegates debated rules changes for next year as if it were the Constitutional Convention then divvied up great prizes. I walked away with a circular saw. Power tools rule.
The Ancient and Honourable Revenue Golf League is heavily populated by auditors and they had their turbocharged laptop computer smokin' as the spreadsheet poured out more statistics than a fantasy football league. I rank 48th out of the 50 golfers. So I've got bragging rights.
Friday, September 17
The beat goes on. Another 18 holes of golf, this time at the annual Tommy G. Thompson Open at Door Creek.
More great golf weather -- cool and in the mid-60s. Carts this time and a scramble format. The event began 7 years ago as a reunion of old Tommy hands and has grown into a charity outing benefitting student scholarships in the medical profession. My playing partners were the Governor's old office manager, Frohmader, and Reggie, assigned to his protection detail.
At the dinner afterwards in the clubhouse, sat with Jim Hausman of the insurance company, Bill Buglass of Payne & Dolan, Scott Kowalski of Physicians's Plus, Kelli Thompson and infant, and Brett Davis, my pick for lieutenant governor. Brett's heartfelt, eloquent introduction to the star of the show captured why so many of us still love TGT and think of him as a surrogate father figure. Brett contrasted the past eight directionless years with the sense of purpose and accomplishment of Tommy's 14 years in office.
The Governor was a little verklempt when it was his turn to speak, then had the group rolling with laughter.
He introduced wife Sue Ann, daughters Kelli and Tommi but there was no need for them to stand. Everyone knew them. Then the Governor mentioned his son Jason. "Where is Jason?" he asked, searching the banquet room of the clubhouse.
"At the bar," came the response.
TGT looked out the glass doors toward the lobby of the clubhouse. "Figures," TGT said slumping his shoulders for comic effect.
The Governor does something I've not seen anyone else do. He will grab you by both shoulders while he talks to you and then you are orbiting alone in the universe of Tommy Thompson. It was the first time he had done that with me. While in the Thompson clinch I told him that I have a picture of him doing that with my dad (by the head, I see). "You made him a Republican that day," I said.
Tommy Thompson was always a hands-on manager. After the program he shook my hand as I left and I called him Tommy. First time I had ever done that. I meant to say, "Governor." He was the best boss I ever had.
(Bill Lueders well captures the tone of Tommy in campaign- and governance-mode in his book excerpt in the current edition of the paper Isthmus. TGT never got credit for his great sense of humor, most of it self-directed.)
Saturday, September 18
The Bergmeister called. Want to see a Badger game? Do I! It had been the very early Alvarez years since my last game, when tickets were still an easy buy. UW v. Arizona State University. Pac 10 opponent, great football weather: Cool and a bright haze, free tix. Does it get any better?
Found free street parking, bought two brats for $5 -- a good deal -- at the Theta Tau frat house on Monroe Street. UW Athletic Program cap for $10. Bag o' kettle corn. Tickets in Section V at the 20 yard line in the east stands on the Field House end of the field, where a lot of the visiting team's fans sat. Now that's the Madison vibe.
Arizona State's cheerleaders hoist three flags of one letter each; I cheered as they spelled out U.S.A. But then they retraced their steps back to their base of operations and I could see that the flags spelled A.S.U. So I booed, even though my niece Amanda is an ASU grad.
I trained my Blaska Binoculars on the UW student section in the horseshoe end of Camp Randall Stadium. They're like a beehive, those students: many worker bees but of a single mind. They instigated The Wave (yawn) but when it returned to them they transformed it into the Slow-Mo Wave. When that finally made the circuit of the stadium they turned it back at us in the other direction. How do they get together on all that?
A few years ago a fellow named Keys quarterbacked the team. When his name was announced, students jangled their keys. No body passing, Saturday. No Portage Plumber. But Ron Dayne to toss the coin, the Mike Leckrone marching band, Barry and the singing of Varsity. Always a lump. As Tevye would say, TRADITION!
Speaking of Tommy G. Thompson, as we were. When he first ran for office he predicted a Rose Bowl for the Badgers and a Super Bowl for the Packers. This was in 1986. People laughed, called him a cheerleader. That is a term of derision for our liberal friends. (For, they ARE our friends.) I call it expecting excellence.
Like Sherlock Holmes, I'm alert to the dog that didn't bark. Would have bet sterling silver that Madison's crazies would have foisted some type of Arizona SB 1070 protest on the celebratory crowd. Never happened.
Wednesday - Thursday, September 22-23
Wednesday: attend Dane County Council of Public Affairs sheriff's candidate presentations. Thursday: fundraiser for Tom Clauder for Assembly from 5:30 to 7:30 at 2896 Jonathan Circle, Fitchburg.
Saturday, September 25
A long time since we made the trek to Spring Green and American Players Theater. A great write-up in the Wall Street Journal on their offerings spurred the Squire and his lovely consort to book Somerset Maugham's "The Circle."
Sunday, October 17
Packers v. Miami Dolphins. My first game at Lambeau Field. Taking #1 Son. We'll camp in the Blaska's Blog terrestrial explorer module a few miles south of Title Town to avoid the traffic and better enjoy the Scott Walker tailgate party, from 9:30 to 12 noon. Only previous Packer game attended was maybe 30 years ago at old Milwaukee County Stadium. Can't even remember who coached the Pack then. Forrest Gregg, maybe? (It's a guess, Brenda. O.K.?) So, about time.
December 1, 2010 (or thereabouts)
Shock Madison to its core by announcing candidacy for non-partisan local elective office in the Spring 2011 elections.