Boughton: Enjoyed Spamtastic event

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Letter to the Editor

I debated long and hard as to whether to attend the Spamtastic grand opening of the new “digs” at the Hormel corporate office. I had the free tickets that I had picked up earlier at the Spam Museum and it was a beautiful day. After all, it was the 75th year celebration of Spam. However, curiosity got the better of me and both my wife and I headed off to Oak Park Mall to catch a bus and see what it was all about. At the mall it was a sea of cars that I had not seen at Oak Park Mall in the 36 years that I had lived in Austin. The potholes were covered with cars. It was a glorious day.

The short ride from the mall to the corporate office in a new shiny bus from Rochester lasted only a minute or two. The addition was sparkling with a new cafeteria, fitness center, meeting rooms and auditorium. We wandered the halls until we finally found the north door leading to a large parking lot with the largest white tent that I had ever seen. It must have been designed for a religious revival but today it was being used for the 75th year celebration of Spam. Nearly 5,000 people were crowded under the big top and old favorites like the Austin Big Band, the Second Edition and three nuns from one of the local Catholic Churches were performing. Even Paul Pruitt had returned from the big city to entertain. We discovered that the three nuns were Connie Nelson, Penny Kinney and Alice Holtz. They had performed on the Austin Theatre stages in previous productions of Nunsense.

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Jeff Ettinger, CEO, spoke eloquently about Spam’s 75 years. However, what was most meaningful was when he mentioned that the fences out front of the corporate office were no longer there. They had originally been put in place during the strike back in 1985. His message sent a strong signal to the community that we were all once again “good” neighbors. The sign now read World Headquarters and Austin and Hormel in the future were going to continue to grow and prosper.

The Temptations were a vocal group from the 1960’s that were spectacular and loud under the tent. The young pretty woman sitting next to me was swaying to the music. I am sure I have bruises on my shoulder and hip from her energy. We slithered out half way through the concert and headed back to the bus to find it full of bald-headed men and women with gray hair. Not a person was under the age of 60 on the bus. The short bus trip returned us to the sea of cars at the Oak Park Mall and home. The younger group back under the tent were swaying and dancing to the music of Otis Williams. “My Girl” is still my favorite. I am already looking forward to the 100th celebration of Spam.

Roger Boughton,