November 2020 is a year away. The presidential election is less than a year away, Nov. 3.

My job with “Shirley’s Cottage” is to write about memories, happenings in town and at the lake, and recipes to share. But I am more than a recipe and a memory. There are times I have more serious subjects on my mind.

I have to be careful. There is no room here to offend, cause anger or be on the other side of the fence of my readers. Sometimes, though, sitting on the fence gets a little painful.

I have my own opinions about different issues. Take the coming election.

For over a year, candidates have been pumping their selves up and kicking their opponents to the curb.

For over a year, I have been trying to figure out who is truthful and who is stretching the truth or downright lying.

It is impossible for me or any citizen to know everything about everybody. Our own family disagrees on politics.

The first time I could vote, it was for JFK. Three days before he was elected, his plane made a stop at the Rockford Airport. It was a bitter November, about 2 a.m. Betty and I bundled up our 3-year-old girls and pushed through the people to the fence. Kennedy made his way, shaking hands with an ungloved hand along the fence. I voted for him. He seemed very nice --and so good-looking.

Sorry to say that’s why I voted for him. I knew nothing of his politics, or even his party until I went to the polling place.

I have come a long way since that cold night. I have even voted for one or two homely presidents. Also, Democrats and Republicans. You might call me an Independent.

My dad was a dyed-in-the-wool party voter. He said he voted the person but the person was always of the same party.

Big Ed’s snit was that Mom never voted. She said she didn’t know anything about politics and didn’t want to vote “wrong.” I guess that was more sensible than voting for the cutest one.

My husband didn’t vote, either. It was a bone of contention. He was in the Air Force for four years and had a stint in Korea. Even so, he had his reasons.

I will keep Googling, reading and trying to make an intelligent decision. It will just be a plus if he or she is good-looking.

There is one thing politicians can agree upon — the U.S. Senate bean soup. It is a tradition that began in the early 1900s and is served every day in the Senate.

Senate Bean Soup

Ingredients: soak 1 pound of navy beans or great northern beans according to directions. Drain beans, cover and let stand 1-4 hours. Three quarts vegetable stock or broth, 1 meaty ham hock or ham bone, 1/2 stick butter, 2 large onions, 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped, 4 cloves garlic sliced, 1/2 cup white wine, pepper to taste, 2/3/cups mashed potato flakes, 1/2 cup parsley.

Directions: cook onion, celery, garlic in soup pot with hot oil for 5 minutes, add butter, broth, beans, and ham. Bring to a boil. Add potato flakes and parsley. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soup is thickened. (I had 2 T vinegar when serving.) Enjoy.

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