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Comments from the Chair
Sausage Making Lessons Learned
When I was a youngster, I used to look forward to being able to accompany my grandfather to the small-town Red Owl grocery store where he was the head butcher. I was allowed to go behind the counter but required to sit quietly on a stool out of the way of Grandpa “Butch” and his assistant as they worked to fill customers’ orders. I had a front-row seat observing how their razor-sharp knives and years of experience created custom-carved steaks, roasts, racks of ribs, ground beef and pork, and various sausages. I was fascinated watching it all happen right there in front of me! On one of those first visits behind the meat counter Grandpa gave me a warm piece of his custom sausage to snack on. I genuinely enjoyed this tasty treat and looked forward to my next visit and another bite of these sausages.
As we drove to the store for that next visit Grandpa told me that today I would get to see how they made the sausage I craved. I was excited as I took my seat on the stool which was located right beside the huge meat grinder device. Much to my surprise, they started by trimming the fat and gristle from some of the prime cuts of beef and pork they were preparing for their customers and threw it all into the bulky, loud meat grinder. I wondered why there was very little of the prime “red meat” going into the grinder? Every so often Grandpa or his assistant would throw a chunk of meat they had trimmed off a big bone into the roaring grinder. The ground mixture would spill into a big stainless-steel bowl below the grinder. The noise and the sight of the pile of ground stuff accumulating at my feet made it difficult for me to sit still. It seemed like it was taking forever to get enough material in the bowl. I was impatient to get my taste of the final product! When the bowl was finally full of ground material my grandpa carefully measured and added an aromatic mixture of spices and mixed it all in using his gloved hands. By then my mouth was watering and my stomach growling in hungry anticipation. I just wished he would hurry up and get me my piece. He then loaded it into another loud device that spit it out into a casing that grandpa said was the intestines of a pig. The idea that I would be eating “pig guts” diminished my appetite for the sausage I had previously enjoyed. Grandpa reassured me that this sausage making process followed strict food safety requirements and, in the end, enabled the butcher to utilize much more efficiently the animal protein minimizing the amount that would have to be wasted. The end product tasted even better than I remembered and was well worth the wait.
(Continued next column)
Officers for Local Executive Board
At the county Democratic party convention on Saturday, a new slate of county officers and executive ommittee was chosen. Lets welcome them and work support our democratic values.
Slate of Remaining Members of the Manistee County Committee
It’s going to be a
(Comments from the Chair continued)
Watching the Red Owl sausage being made was a traumatic experience for this young lad and we can understand that you may be having similar feelings if you have been watching the “sausage making” process of our legislators in Washington, DC, and Lansing over the past few months. Making good legislation requires communication, collaboration, and compromise that at times may appear to be messy and inefficient. Great legislation typically starts with bold, major concepts intended to address a myriad of challenging issues. The process of communication, collaboration and compromise is intended to result in a win/win outcome that will not deliver everything to everybody but will deliver a significant improvement over the current status-quo.
The unfortunate alternative taken by some elected officials of just saying NO to everything and refusing to even consider or discuss an issue is truly shameful and results in a disservice to voters who elected them and whose tax dollars are paying their six-figure annual compensation. Those of us who have had the opportunity to compete on the field or the court in front of spectators can also refute the observations of the “Monday morning quarterbacks” who take pleasure in pointing out the missed shots, missed tackles, or bobbled grounders from the comfort and safety of the sidelines or bleachers but have never had to perform under pressure. Somehow these stonewalling legislators mistakenly believe that they are doing their job by doing nothing or, even worse, spreading misinformation about what is really going on in their workplace. Integrity is just as important in legislation as it is in sausage making. My grandfather took the time to explain that he had followed a well-regulated approved process and listened patiently to provide answers to my simplistic questions. We should expect, and even demand, the same from those we elect to represent us.
We have recently been receiving emails from some of our elected representatives that are brazenly spreading lies and misinformation. These communications must be seen as putting political gain over service to the state, country, or voters. Refusing to meet or listen to voters who may not always agree with their positions on an issue is also a standard operating procedure utilized by US Representative Bergman to avoid being held accountable to the voters. The good news is that there are viable alternatives to these incumbents, and they appear to be gaining momentum to implement positive change. We will need to wait for the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to complete their important work to determine which Michigan State Representative and Senate district Manistee County will be part of, but it looks like any of the proposed alternatives will result in a change for many incumbents in 2022. It is obvious that we need those we elect in 2022 to roll up their sleeves and get elbow-deep in the sausage making process!
John Helge is a veteran U.S. Army officer and has recently retired after a 40-year career leading technical sales teams focused on the challenges of industrial water and energy sustainability. He is currently serving as chairperson of the Manistee County Democratic Party. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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