Well, right around noon, the whole family – all four of us – are going to Hu Hot. For those of you still not acquainted with Hu Hot, it’s a restaurant chain devoted to tasty, fresh cooked, Asian-esque food. Meat, noodles, vegetables, sauces – things you pick out yourself and put in your bowl, and then hand to the guy who stands around a massive super-hot round flat grill, who then fries you choice all up and hands it back to you on a plate. Of particular note, of course, are the sauces, which range from very mild, non-spicy all the way up to burn-your-mouth, make your eyeballs sweat spicy heat. It’s a wonderful experience, with Cheri taking the Norwegian route of a couple of ladles full of gentle sauces, and the other three of us seeking to burn the entire gastrointestinal system to the ground. Oh, and you can go back as often as you want! We probably won’t make plans to fix any supper tonight, I would guess. I also need to bring along a cloth handkerchief to wipe my brow and my eyes. It takes quite the discipline to not touch anywhere on my face after I start eating. You learn after terrible mistakes.
Please note that they have been vigorous in keeping things CoVid free, with hand sanitizers stationed every two feet, and tables spread way out from each other, and of course, the requirement of wearing a mask when you aren’t shoving the food in your mouth. It’s just too irresistible to forego.
Now the reason we are going to Hu Hot is to bribe ourselves. Prior to eating, the four of us are going to undertake our civic responsibility and vote. Yes, I know that Election Day is really next Tuesday, but everyone is off from work, and it just works better to vote early. Who am I voting for, you ask? One thing I am absolutely certain of is that I’m not going to tell you. I’ve never been one to put political signs on my lawn, outside of one year when our church treasurer was running for city council. That was a gimme. Oh, and I also put up signs to ask folks to vote to shut down the video lottery industry, which is a terrible and destructive blight on any community. So I guess I have done some of that in the past, but I prefer these days not to get into verbal fistfights (or the other kind as well!) over which candidate best deserves to serve as an elected official. I’m just going to vote, and then go pick out the sauces I want to have on my food.
It does seem odd that we have added a third category of voting options – there was always voting on the first Tuesday in November, and then, if you were gone to Europe or something, you could request an absentee ballot and vote that way. But this relatively “new” path of “early” voting is a little screwy to me. I don’t want to vote on Tuesday, so I’ll vote today. Four states, including two that surround North Dakota began their “early voting” on September 18! I guess that’s ok, but it sure seems a long time for ballots to just sit around, waiting to be counted 46 days later. Oh, and now they have mail-in ballots, where you just get sent an official ballot to fill out, and just mail it back from the convenience of your own living room. Or, as some fear, ballot-s, which could tend to skew election results. My hope in all of this is that the American sense of fair play follows through, and the result is the one that truly the citizenry had intended.
I remember a few years ago watching the news as it reported voting in different countries, especially in the Middle East, where after someone voted, they dipped their left index finger into a blue/purple dye, which both proved they had voted, and also meant they couldn’t go back and vote a second time. It’s a bit more of a commitment than wearing a “I voted” sticker. I also read where in some countries, militant groups beat up persons who did NOT have dye on their finger, meaning they hadn’t voted. That would encourage a turnout. Of course, there were also the Taliban, who would send out warnings that anyone found with a blue finger would have that finger cut off. A far different method of voter suppression.
Given those options, to simply walk in freely to a voting booth, make your selection, and then go eat Asian food is a pretty nice benefit of living in a long-standing democracy. So – go vote, and then go eat, and then realize whatever happens next Tuesday is your fault…
Word for the day: refulgent. Pronounced reh-FOAL-jent. It’s actually a very pretty word, and has a wonderful definition. It comes from Latin, beginning with the re, which means “back to,” and fulgere, the word for “to shine.” Have you ever walked into a room – maybe a ball room – that was filled with chandeliers, and the entire room seemed to shine and be aglow with light? Or the first time you turn on your Christmas tree, and see the beautiful light reflected in the room? You witnessed a refulgent experience, which means to shine brilliantly, or to flash back toward you. We have a physical reaction when we see something refulgent, even if it is the reflection of light in the eyes of someone we love. Nice word.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.