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'Old Man With A Sign' stops in Fargo-Moorhead to protest Trump

Gale MCCray, 74, of Fort Worth, Texas, holds his sign protesting President Trump on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, at the intersection of Main Avenue and 2nd Street, Fargo.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — A handwritten sign with six words has caught the attention of communities across the country.

"Trump," the sign says, "that boy don't act right."

The sign's owner, 74-year-old Gale McCray, of Fort Worth, Texas, has been traveling the U.S. this year protesting President Donald Trump. The Old Man With A Sign — as McCray calls himself — thought he'd be back home in Fort Worth by this point, but now plans to head to Bismarck later this week after a few days in Fargo-Moorhead.

McCray, originally of Lawton, Okla., has a pretty simple shtick: stand at a busy intersection with what he refers to as "The Sign," sell a few hats and buttons, and meet people.

"It's a great way to spend my retirement," he said.

On Monday, Sept. 11, McCray was on the corner of Main Avenue and Second Street South in Fargo. He said two drivers flipped him off within the first five minutes. But for the most part, folks were positive and gave a thumbs up or peace sign along with a honk.

"I agree," one woman politely said from her passenger window.

The Sign has "a certain sense of humor" and harks back to McCray's childhood in the south when parents would say something like, "You know Bob's son? Sometimes that boy don't act right," he said. Parents would then say something loving and "condescending," he said, like "God bless him," or "Bless his heart."

When folks try to correct his grammar on The Sign with "you mean doesn't act right," McCray said that means "you ain't got a speck of country in ya."

Along with the somewhat humorous and timely message, McCray points to his paradoxical image as lending to the success of his protest and his growing following of nearly 2,500 fans on Facebook.

"I look like a damn redneck from Texas," he said. But he voted for Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders was his first choice.

McCray didn't really consider himself political before the 2016 presidential election. And even after two trips in his Prius couch-surfing across the country with The Sign since February, he still doesn't consider himself an activist.

"I don't know what it is. I just do it," he said. "I'm just riding the wave ... the sign says it all."

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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