What should have been a fun little seasonal purchase from Pier One Imports has now got me in a bit of a tizzy ... not a life-changing one, but one that I must address before I present the autumnal pumpkin salt and pepper shakers for use at my Thanksgiving table. The cute little pumpkins have labels on them: “p” and “s.” That should make it easy to fill with the proper seasoning, but the pepper shaker is the one with three holes and the salt has two. And that is my dilemma.

All my life I have assumed, probably as have all but the youngest generations of Americans, that salt goes in the shaker with the most holes. (Is it because salt is the more universal food enhancer?) And all of my other five shaker sets are so filled.

Thanks to the Internet, I was able to research the rules for filling salt and pepper shakers. And as you can imagine, there were different reasons for giving pepper the star billing in today’s condiment sets. The one that makes kind of the most sense to me is this one: “Here in the U.S. excessive salt is considered bad for you, so the salt shaker is the one with the fewer holes.”

Another explanation is that pepper should go in the shaker with more holes because it is coarser and therefore needs more escape routes than free-flowing salt.

A more “grasping at straws” explanation was that pepper should go in the three-hole shaker because there are three “P’s” in pepper. That is just plain silly, because I have one set with a combination of one and two holes. And the set I use at the stove for cooking are clear glass with six holes in each top. (I bought them filled with jam at the Rocky Mountain National Park gift shop in Colorado.)

If only my dilemmas in life were about changing how I fill salt and pepper shakers, life would be pretty good for me right now.

Unfortunately, I am having to live every day (sometimes every hour) with an assault by the President of the United States on values I have always held dear as a citizen of the United States. And accepting his nasty twitters, his misogynistic and racist DNA and his blatant lies is a big dilemma for me.

When did respecting women become unnecessary? When Donald Trump insulted and abased Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Mika Brezsinski, Miss Universe, Angela Merkel (wouldn’t shake a world leader’s hand?!?) and a former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. (That is not counting all the unnamed women he can grab by the genitals because he is famous.)

When did standing up against racism and neo-Nazi poison become passe in America? When Donald Trump called Mexicans rapists and white supremacists and Nazi flag carriers marching in Charlottesville some very fine people. When everything he spouts about making America great again is really “code” for “Make America White Again.”

When did our United States Congress cede the reins of good government to a narcissistic, cruel and lascivious buffoon? They have been doing it every day since Donald Trump was elected. They seem to have lost, as a body, any morals or common decency we, as their electorate, expect of them.

When did 46 percent of the voters in the presidential election decide to cast their ballots for a dangerous, unbalanced clown? When did their definition of a good president become the opposite of what I have always thought defined that role: to be a role model to all the people in this country; to work with Congress to legislate improvements to our way of life; to represent to the world the unique characteristics that truly make America great? I guess it was when candidate Trump rallied his crowds with chants of “Lock her up!” When he promised to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of our country. When he promised to ban all Muslims from coming to America. When he promised to make America Great Again. (That was his ultimate insult to me. Until Nov. 8, 2016, our country was great. Now it is a laughing stock to the world. Thanks, Donald!)

The dilemma I cannot do anything about is the Donald Trump presidency. Yes, I can remain involved in organizations that are actively trying to overturn his policies. Yes, I can rant and rail about him to my friends. But I cannot by myself remove him from the Oval Office. He may well remain a thorn in my side for at least four years.

As for my little dilemmas...looking at my new pumpkin salt and pepper shakers, I can see that the initials on them are transparent tape. I can peel the p and s off! I can fill them anyway I like. Can you guess which pumpkin is getting the salt?

Sandra Humphrey is a resident of Tomah.


Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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