I sat across from a friend at Lakota Coffee Company. I’ve known the man for seven years, and the same thought enters my mind with every meeting: My grandma Molly needs to grab this man and feed him. "Eat, eat. You’re too skinny."
Our councilman from the First Ward, Fred Schmidt, and I sat talking about politics and his upcoming wedding.
We met to discuss Fred’s social and political lives and how the word on the street had become so mired in rumor. I had been reading posts from Mike Martin on the unofficial North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association Yahoo forum and on Martin’s blog, The Columbia Heart Beat. Or as I call it, Rumor Control Central. Sometimes Mike gets it right. Sometimes not.
Martin has been very busy circulating stories that Schmidt is no longer living in his home on West Ash Street because he has moved in with his fiancee, the Rev. Cathy Rosenholtz, who lives in the Fourth Ward. I’ve met Cathy and can say without hesitation that she is much too good-looking for Fred.
I also know some of Fred’s neighbors, and he does live on West Ash.
Fred has responded to this allegation during a council meeting and, with the grace of Martin, in The Columbia Heart Beat.
The problem with rumors, though most are based on some reality, is that they are usually filled with a lot of hot air.
First things first. The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association Yahoo forum group is not the "official group" of the association. It says so in the small print on the home page: "not affiliated with the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association." It is run exclusively by Martin, who makes it sound like the official group site, even though it isn't sanctioned by the association.
The official association message board is a Google forum. Pat Fowler is the president of the association.
With this knowledge, be wary of the fare the Yahoo group serves you.
Now that the source of the information is relatively clear, let’s go on to the steamy rumor of the month: Where, oh where, does Fred Schmidt live?
When I asked him that question, I was waiting for the spit-take as Fred tried to swallow his hot coffee.
Fred and Cathy are to be wed Oct. 20. (I am sure gifts will be welcomed.) Today, Fred lives in his home on West Ash. Cathy lives in the Fourth Ward. For the time being Fred’s eligibility to represent the First Ward is moot. Until Cathy and he combine their homes, nothing has changed. As far as I can tell, Fred and Cathy will be living somewhere.
As for Schmidt’s recall, this is really a no-brainer. Three council members are up for re-election in April, Helen Anthony will not be seeking a second term, and two are too new. So who is left to hunt? Fred Schmidt. Who is doing the hunting? It appears to be the same group that claims Schmidt does not live in the First Ward.
This story can go on for three full pages of the Missourian, so I’ll stop here, paraphrasing the advice the late-great Theodor Geisel, "Dr. Seuss," gave in his commencement speech at Lake Forest College in 1977.
"'To read these things,' said my uncle, 'you must exercise great care.'"
"'You look for what’s solid, but you must spit out the air!'"
And as you read the Internet bill of fare, here is some darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air. And be careful what you swallow.