Having recovered now from that wash of deep sentiment that courses through me every time the horses take the track at Louisville to the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home," I have pulled myself together and am bracing for the next beastly uproar at the Largo City Commission meeting.
By the time I get through the sentimentality at the Preakness (where they play "Maryland, My Maryland" - the tune is the same as that of "Oh, Tannenbaum") and the Belmont (where "Sidewalks of New York" is the theme - "East Side, West Side, All Around the Town") five Largo City Commission meetings will have gone by.
Maybe things will improve over the next five weeks. One hope and prays so, but perhaps that would be troubling a deaf heaven with bootless cries.
There's bad blood on that commission, folks, and it shows.
There's also some very good talent there and some woefully
bad talent and a personality that is authoritarian, tends to be totalitarian and is making all of us very uncomfortable.
And I am nagged, nagged, self-nagged with questions that arise out of the miasma that Largo City Hall has become.
What a shame. A shame because there are so many good folks toiling there, so many so helpful at the drop of a hat, so many so well aware of their duty to help and willing to do so.
There used to be a guy in a nearby town who had those totalitarian instincts, too. He would adjourn a meeting at the drop of a hat when things weren't going his way and walk out.
Well, the people got rid of him (with no little help from this corner, I am happy to say) and that little burg is now prospering under the leadership of responsible and respectful folks.
Is that a word dropped from the vocabulary of the mayor of Largo?
What has taken its place is the word disrespectful. That mayor, Pat Gerard, has been disrespectful to the public in a gross way and disrespectful to her colleagues on the commission.
I think of recent mayors of Largo and I put this woman, Gerard, up next to them and I am appalled. I feel sorry for the folks who voted for her - she has certainly let them down. They must feel so embarrassed for her.
Thom Feaster, of blessed memory to many, was a strong, decisive, commanding figure as mayor. If he ever got tough on anyone, it happened privately.
Warren Andrews was always deferential, quiet, appealing to the best instincts of others. A fine, likeable guy.
Bob Jackson, of recent vintage, could make his positions known in most emphatic ways, but always with politeness and sensitivity toward others. And Bob always mixed a little gentle humor into the equation.
From the day that Gerard first had the privilege of holding the symbolic scepter of power in her hand, the gavel, Madame La Mayor has apparently misunderstood what her real role and position in the community is.
That is a statement based on the evidence, because no matter what Gerard may say, it is her actions that speak louder than any intent.
Apparently Gerard thinks that gavel is to be used as its ancient ancestors, the mace and the club, were used - to pummel the masses into obedience and subservience.
In this case, the mayor of Largo is not the mistress of the village. She plays the role of presiding officer and that only.
And when she gavels into silence a person elected by the people to do their business and then, in hysterical panic, "adjourns" a meeting of the government (the proper move - if anything - would have been to "recess" the meeting) she has committed a serious breach.
The only out of order uproar was created by her. She obviously does not know parliamentary procedure, she is under the misapprehension that her job is to protect her friends and the friends of her friends, and that her role is to further her own agenda and interests.
Largo is in deep trouble.
And the mayor is of no help whatsoever.