And it was June 1986. Da Nang. No, wait. It was definitely Lapeer, Michigan. We would walk to the convenience store. At the base of the Thumb, we called them party stores. Sometimes, I would carry a small bag of carrots so I could stop along the way and feed Mindy. Mindy was a horse. She lived on a small farm just off the main road. She could probably hurdle the low and increasingly incomplete fence, but she appeared satisfied with her present location. Besides, it was abnormally hot; the air too humid and the ground too dusty for anything more strenuous than a leisurely amble. It was 29 years away from having to worry about compliance with a corporate social media guidelines policy regarding personal blogs. I am referring to myself, of course. Mindy didn’t care about such things – they weren’t small, crisp, orange, and delicious. She knew what was important.
Slats, who I hadn’t met yet, would later claim that he spent that summer gearing up for the Babbitt for President campaign. Somehow, that involved six weeks in a rented villa ten klicks outside of Saint Tropez. Gearing up was different in the ‘80s. In any event, he left that effort the following year…well before the cornstalks were hip-high. “Strategic differences,” he would mutter.
But this is neither the time nor place for that – Michigan ’86 is. Was? No, it is. So that is where we should begin.