As I sit at my writing desk, my Trump 2020 face masked pushed down and exposing my nose and mouth, I’m reflecting on time spent at a recent presidential rally, or rather ‘peaceful protest,’ in Minden, Nevada. I bought the mask as a souvenir, a gift to myself, thinking it very apropos for the times we are living in.
For someone who enjoys plying words, I am stalled, trying to find the best way to begin this tale. So as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
Here I am…
From my private journal, Saturday, 12 September 2020 at 1119 hours: I slept in later than I usually do – I mean, much later. That’s because I’m going to the Minden-Tahoe Airport in Douglas County for my first ever presidential rally. I’ve been to others, but only ever as a member of the press, so this is different for me.
Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at 1900 hours, so I doubt that I will be back home before midnight. I’m going with my son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Alex. Mary is remaining home because of the lack of mask use and social distancing.
The return to my journal wasn’t made until the following day, Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 0051 hours:
What an exceptionally long day. We arrived at around 1400 hours, parked the car and by 1500 hours we were being bused to the airport. Once there, we stood in a dusty parking lot until about 1630 hours. No food, no toilets outside the gated and guarded venue.
Finally the gates opened and people began to pour in. Once inside, security shouting, “no food, no water inside.” People began abandoning their beach chairs, fancy water flasks and I even saw a Nikon camera left along the pathway to the main gates.
It reminded me of those people who unloaded their Conestoga wagons of pianos, fancy china, iron cook ovens and books as they began the trek up and over the Rocky Mountains.
We were thoroughly screened along with whatever we had remaining in our possession. Once inside, we were able to gather a folding chair and make our way to the seating area. Chairs were placed helter-skelter and people packed the front of the venue like sardines. I could not see the stage from where I sat.
Many people took to standing on their chairs in order to get a better look at the flag-lined stage. At one point, a locally hired security guard with a bushel of self-importance a bad attitude to boot, screamed at everyone to ‘quit standing’ on their chairs and to ‘get down.’
One child, about ten, not paying attention, didn’t get off his chair, and the guard threatened to drag his ‘ass out of the place.’ The guard realized his error, when a bunch of us turned, surrounded the kid, and faced him. Thereafter, people returned to standing on their chairs.
The President came on at 1900 hours. His microphone setting was low, so it was difficult to hear him over the crowds. Twenty-five-thousand people in attendance. This is nearly the entire population, as estimated in 2019, of all of Del Norte County, California, where I grew up.
Afterwards, we were herded out of the venue to where we were to meet the buses back to our cars. That was another two-hour ordeal of no food and no toilets. Eventually, we got on a bus at 2300 hours and by 0036 hours, back in Spanish Springs.
As for me, I am social distancing from my wife for the next two weeks, sleeping in the guest room throughout the period. And so, having eaten a large cold can of Chef Boyardi’s best ravioli’s and downing a three-thick-fingers of whiskey, am ready to sleep, sufficiently decompressed from a long, long, but exciting day.
With my body hurting and sore, I turned off my bedside light, only to realize I couldn’t recall a single word the President spoke last night. Exhaustion. Thankfully, my wife taped his appearance.