Riff-Raff Freight Hopping [1979]


Next stop Willmar

That summer of ’79 was the best ever, and one July evening I enjoyed my Golden Birthday on Kava’s porch surrounded by a dozen new friends.  Although only 6 months into my second go-around as a Minnesotan, I already had a best-imaginable circle of friends.   I lucked into all this of course with a little pluck on my part.

The luck was while still living in Philadelphia, but knowing I wanted to get back to Minnesota, I asked this guy I never knew before, Nick (who was from Minnesota, an activist in the co-op movement, and visiting a friend of a friend of mine in Philadelphia), who I should look up next time I got back to Minnesota – folks involved in left-wing politics.  He gave me three names and I braved to call all three once I’d settled back in Minnesota.  Wow, it’s almost like I owe my whole future fortunes to Nick.  Those three names were great connections, heavy into politics, and, along with Nick, are still some of my best friends 33 years later.

The pluck was volunteering for the St. Paul Tenants Union while I drove a cab and studied for the Bar Exam.  The Tenants Union had an entry in the “Cooperative Commonwealth Co-Rec Softball League.”

And now Nick also enjoys playing ball

And now Nick also enjoys playing ball

We had no umpires, no firm rules – except to have fun (and an equal number of women players as men players) – and the 10 teams in the League were all from left-wing political groups – like the Lawyers Guild, Haymarket Press, May Day Bookstore, Minnesota CO-ACT, etc.  And the team you played always went for a beer with you afterwards.  Wow, was I lucky to meet such a huge great group so fast.

Tomorrow:  Baseball


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