There was great local pride in landing a spot on OLB's busy schedule to go for a ride in the country to visit their urban-challenged sisters and brothers in the Marquette/Columbia Counties area. Marquette County activists in particular are earning their home the reputation as "the little County that could" in this past year plus of push-back against the thieves of representative governance. (At least I'd like to offer that personal perspective.) And we just added more weight to our presence in the consciences of local authorities.
It was a satisfying fun evening, with the sort of social/political networking that's transforming our great state....back into our great state. This is OLB's extraordinary contribution. We tried to set our guests up with proper accommodations of a casual hot picnic lunch, tailgate-style, and introduce them to the finest country folk you'd care to meet even in moderate political times. And the closing ceremony, though in step with the casual style of the evening and not entirely unexpected, was nonetheless a show-stopper with perfect timing.
As a couple dozen plus people from as far away as OLB Fox Valley and OLB Milwaukee organized, cranes were silhouetted against the pink sunset to the west. Dusk fell and the air crispened slowly, and as traffic watched us from below, we watched the full moon rise in a fiery orange ball through still-bare trees to the east, then slowly transform into that familiar friendly face lighting up the night and casting the deeply blackened shadows you only get out away from city lights.
Conversations murmured along the lighted line of scrimmage, broken occasionally with bursts of full-throated laughter. The new lighted solidarity fist shimmered through the clear air. The usually mild mood was regularly enhanced with approving honks from below. And special effects added lots of Doppler! One loud profanity was blurted out of a speeding car's window, and answered with a soft, harmonious, "Ooooooo" from the occupied bridge. A couple cars drove by slowly on our level uneventfully, and a police vehicle executed a perfect interstate u-turn out in front of us to get a full view on the return below.
I'm guessing the 2 deputies (the entire on-duty County contingent) were among the youngest people to show up on the bridge that night, and I'm sure we weren't what they expected to find there. They seemed maturely-tempered, and more than a bit befuddled with how to fulfill their "duty" - to chase a couple dozen of their seniors off an otherwise-lonely bridge, and make it seem to follow some degree of just logic.
Having brought separate squads made for quite the impressive light show to close our show to. One deputy was very talkative and friendly, the other just kind of hung back checking the whole thing out - I guess backup is always a good policy when dealing with a potential rural riot! Really, it was amazingly friendly, and no names were taken, though both deputies declined my offer of a sandwich.
Their D.A. boss was busy "checking into legal issues" and sending info to print out in the squad (boonies gone hi-tech!) that sounded like it came from "Law-Enforcement Series Cliff Notes on Signage Distractions and Other Various Approaches to General Shooing-Away". I was trying to keep my smile mild standing in the welcome heat pouring out the squad door and listening to the talkative deputy read from the printout for me, while imagining our Walker-appointee D.A. excusing himself from a cozy night at home with the family to swing into action in an expression of outrage to put a stop to this outrage of expression.
Earlier, one of the handful of cars using the bridge that evening stopped behind the signage for awhile, and I found out later that it was an off-duty deputy from adjoining Columbia County, stopping to compliment both the message and the method. Our personal law officers in attendance, being on duty, politely excused themselves from any political comment.
I was amused that as the last few of us lingered to chat before heading home, the deputies, probably having grown weary from all the crowd control duties, asked us if it was o.k. for them to go now. Now that's diplomacy! We were obliging.
On the way home, one of my local colleagues-in-crime spotted the 2 squads parked at what is likely the complainant Grinch's house for a follow-up report. So we now have a lead on what local Walker-loving reactionary to keep an eye out for. (Maybe a free lawn sign now and then?) In any case, we'd never think of publishing their name or address just for having made their "petition" to public authorities.
But that was just the closing chapter of a great night's activities - we had enjoyed nearly 2 hours of socializing, sharing sustenance and lighting the political way for wayward travelers, and had arrived on the verge of packing things up and calling it a great action anyway. And that is what I'm calling it. Great action! Thank you deeply for the visit, OLB. Come back anytime, though we really like you best after dark!
I've got just enough leftover eats to keep my tummy happy for a couple days, and memories that will last for all my time. And as a bonus, someone left behind a tin half-full of home-made cookies in my car. I'll try not to eat them all before locating their owner.