I drove up to Sauk City this morning to retrieve my deer hunting rifle from Gary the gunsmith. Gary tightened some screws on the old 30-06 and got it to shoot straight enough for this season, put on a new strap, and oiled it up. But, he explained, this Remington model was made with a fatal flaw that will eventually cause the gun to jam and require me to spend four or five hundred dollars on a new used rifle some day. But not today.
I also picked up a couple boxes of shells (on sale!), and a nice, yet inexpensive, pair of comfortable boot socks (combination of Merino wool and acrylic fibers with extra padded soles!) on my way to the checkout.
The friendly, motherly woman at the counter who took my money said, "You're all ready for the season then," referring to the traditional gun deer season, which starts at 6:25 a.m. this Saturday.
"Yes, ma'am," I replied. "I'm not sure I'm all ready, but my gun is. It only means that I've lost an excuse for missing."
She smiled the motherly smile that says she had heard that one before, and that from the looks of me, I was, in fact, a guy in need of a reason for missing, aside from the obvious fact that I was probably just a bad shot.
As I started for home, I noticed two middle-aged women on a street corner holding signs that read "Sign Walker Recall Petition Here!" This was my first opportunity since the Scott Walker recall drive started at 12:01 a.m. today, and as I was carrying a pen, I stopped and signed and gave a bonus petition signature to recall the Lieutenant Governor while I was at it.
I had to wait in line. At 10 a.m. In Sauk City. This tells you something. And while I was there a woman, maybe 40-years-old, drove up in a car even older than mine (which is a rare thing if the car doesn't have collector's plates) and got in line behind me.
"What he did doesn't really
effect affect me," she said, indicating that she wasn't a state employee, "but I'm unemployed and I just don't like how he's running the state." She apparently had not heard of the governor's plan to add 250,000 jobs or maybe the surging Walker economy had just not reached her yet. Or maybe she did not understand that all of those jobs would be created at Ian's Pizza to feed the tens of thousands of protestors who came to the Capitol last spring to disagree with Governor Walker over some of the more aggressive points of his job creation plans.
For whatever reason, there she was, unemployed, apparently with no state workers in her household. Rather, far from resentful of them, she stopped to sign a petition to recall the governor who has said he did what he did for people just like her.
My petition signing done, I wished the earnest petition circulators good luck, got back in my old station wagon, repaired deer rifle in the back ready for Saturday morning, and headed for home. On public radio they were playing Ralph Vaughan William's "The Lark Ascending" -- a beautiful, haunting, but finally uplifting piece of music.
I drove through the gorgeous rolling Wisconsin countryside, and couldn't resist thinking, chronic wasting disease and Scott Walker notwithstanding, about a growing sense of optimism and pride in my state.