We’re sitting in a coffee shop in Billings MT, my home town. My only remaining connection here is my mother, 95 and hopelessly memory-deficient. We visit her, and she pretends to know me. She does not, although staff says that in a lucid moment recently she referred to “my boys,” as in “they don’t visit much, do they.”
I have been reading David Crisp’s Outpost as we sit here, a delight. Crisp is a baseball fan, small town variety, or real ball. He covers the local team, the Rookie League Billings Mustangs, a farm team of the Cininnati Reds, which is why I am branded on that team.
Also in the current issue, TJ Gilles writes about the potential for expatriate living in Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador or Mexico. All four offer cheaper living standards, better health care and more sunshine than the US. I’ve been thinking about Ecuador for some time – all we have to do is prove guaranteed income of $1,000 or more each month, and we’ll be welcomed. My wife, of course, says “grandchildren” but visiting is still possible, last I heard, even from down there. And wouldn’t they love a trip down there?
Roger Clawson is still alive and writing, and is hard-bitten and literate, as always. He made me stop reading midpoint because I have not yet read the Hichhiker’s Guide … I must do that so that I can go back and finish his column.
And then Crisp returns to his other interest, politics. Unfortunately he is hopelessly mired in partisanship. He tries to be above it, and that’s laudable. It would be more so if he knew that most of American public opinion exists to the left of those damned wealth-financed parties. Today he writes as if attainment of 51 votes for either party in the US Senate reflects its true makeup.
Such is the job of the American journalist. They are only aware of controversy where it exists between the two parties. Since party differences are almost nonexistent, there isn’t much to cover there. But they must write about it. It is boring.
But taken as a whole, this has been a delightful time in a cozy coffee shop in downtown Billings, Montana, a hot Republican prairie town in semi-desert eastern Montana, where I spent my misspent youth.