Living in Society

At a Potluck Dinner

Mixed cucumbers and squash, July 12, 2019.

I sliced fresh cucumbers on the mandolin and dressed them with a mixture of olive oil, homemade apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper for the potluck.

Not sure how much to take, I used all the Tasty Jade Asian cucumbers I picked in the morning. It made a generous offering.

The dressing took place on the hood of my car in the parking lot for the event. Didn’t want the salad dressing to break, and the possibility of finding more ingredients along the route to the potluck kept options open until the last minute.

An octogenarian friend suggested it’s important to put your name on a potluck dish. I made a card, wrote the ingredients on it, and signed at the bottom. What’s in the dish seems more important than who made it, especially for people with dietary restrictions, but I seldom question my friend’s potluck wisdom. I made my name legible.

On a warm, summer afternoon in a park in North Liberty we gathered and enjoyed each other’s company. The potluck was the July meeting of our county’s Democratic central committee. It was an official meeting, but very informal. This being Iowa, a good percentage of the group included young political organizers for presidential campaigns, the Iowa Democratic Party, and other campaigns. There are a lot of elections between now and Nov. 3, 2020. By the way, Democrats, like most potluck attendees, are a bunch of gossips, the author included.

If people believe the way to learn about candidates and their policies is to attend large town hall meetings, they are wrong. Whatever I learned and continue to learn is done in small bits over a very long time with people I’ve come to know well. I didn’t realize that until I was able to suppress my driving social style and actually listen to people. Most elected officials are real people with real interests of their own. If they come to a potluck at all, that’s a sign they are accessible… and human.

There was no real news out of the potluck. It was the kind of warm summer evening of which there are too few in life. Suffice it there were many positive interactions before I headed home along Mehaffey Bridge Road.

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