Day 20: June 27, 2014
Meat, Veggies, & Memories

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I didn't know that such a place even existed but had followed signs to the McGovern Library and Museum after leaving the Corn Palace yesterday. It was closed so I stopped in before leaving town this morning. The museum is not huge but it does a nice job of covering the various periods of George McGovern's life and it brought back some memories.

I turned 21 in 1968. It was my first chance to participate in an election and it was about equal parts hope and despair. I attended a Eugene McCarthy and was a little dismayed to see him arrive in a charted 727. I guess I expected him to be piloting his own Piper or driving a Beetle or something. Then there was the Democratic Convention which I watched in horror on a small TV in a friend's small apartment. Neither McCarthy nor McGovern won the nomination. It went to Humphrey and led to the observation that "if Nixon had run unopposed, he would have lost". I wrote in McCarthy that year. In 1972, McGovern got the nomination and my vote. He also got my vote in 1976 but it was another write-in. Those votes may have been naive and they were certainly ineffective but I still like them.

When I saw the words "Golden Spike" on an expressway sign, I had to check it out. This trip has, after all, been something of a golden spike pilgrimage. This reference was entirely figurative and referred to a gold tinted section of pavement that marked the completion of Interstate 90 in 1978. Apparently a bit of gold stripe can still be seen at the edge of the repaved roadway but I missed it. The sign also mentions a 56 foot Jolly Green Giant who was freshly manufactured and attended the ceremonies courtesy of a crane. The giant is now a permanent fixture in the a park in the nearby town of Blue Earth, Minnesota. Not all that obvious in the picture is a stairway behind the statue which provides access to the base for photographs. I climbed the stairs but, having no one to take my picture, had to resort to a selfie. In the valley of the Jolly Green Giant. Ho. Ho. Ho.

And who could resist a visit to the SPAM Museum which showed up by surprise. There's the Great Wall of SPAM, lots of displays on the making and marketing of SPAM, and even free samples of a new flavor. (There are currently 13!) I saw no mention of email messages but there is a nice nod to Monty Python and, near the gift shop, a customized ATM.

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