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Voting Day in Podunk, Texas

Posted Nov 30 2008 12:21pm
Today was Voting Day in Podunk. And they do Voting Day a little differently here in Podunk than they do in "The Big City". In "The Big City", candidates running for office put their names on the ballots, host events to promote their candidacy, hand out leaflets touting their political pedigrees and qualifications, buy commercial time on the local TV stations to spread their viewpoints, and take part in debates with opposing candidates in order to allow people to see them discuss important and pertinent issues. Podunk candidates do that, too. But they also do something else--they get a little more "personal" in their campaign behaviors--something that you won't often find candidates doing in "The Big City"--- This morning when I arrived at work, I noticed one of the candidates for the County Judge position---and he was standing on the street corner out front of our office holding a sign that stated: "So-and-So for County Judge!" And he literally stood there all day long campaigning for himself--- in fact, he's standing there right now as I write this, since the polls don't close till 7 o'clock pm --holding his sign, waving at the passing vehicle drivers, campaigning for himself --- along with his wife, his children, and all his friends. They're all standing out there, wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots, the men in cowboy hats--all waving their campaign signs. And the local traffic is loving it. The passing cars have been honking their horns in support of the family affair all day long. We Road Nurse girls took them out some coffee and donuts about mid-morning. And somebody else took them lawn chairs patterned like the Texas Flag. And then later we girls also took them out some hot-links from Daddy Hawg'sHot-Links for lunch. (Although we had to send Buford Winnison back to get some extra mustard because some idgity Road Nurse forgot to bring some....) All day long this family campaigned for the County Judge candidate, waving enthusiastically at all the passing cars and trucks who then obligingly honked their horns back merrily in reply, big friendly smiles on all the campaigners' faces. I had to admire their commitment and fortitude--because Lordy mercy, I can't believe they didn't get tired of all that endless waving, hour after hour, smiling and looking like they were having a blast. And since our office building is situated right next door to both the hospital's Paramedic Barracks and the local Firehouse #2, it meant that along with the passing motorists' horns blaring in support of the street-corner judge candidate, we were also graced with the additional noise of intermittent fire-truck and paramedic sirens, the combination of which created a complete cacaphony for most of the day. (In fact, I highly suspect that some of the paramedics and firemen were setting off their sirens every single time they drove by just for the purpose of joining into all that noisy fun--as I really don't completely believe that they could have possibly had THAT MANY emergency calls today.....)(And in fact, again, I wonder if whether the candidate actually picked this particular location for just that strategy--in order to make it seem like the sirens were just for him! Because whenever one of the Paramedic Trucks took off with its sirens and lights blazing, the candidate and his friends held up their campaign signs even higher, thrusting them up and down in time with the siren, and looking for all the world like it was an election rally ....)(Note: in spoken hickese, "siren" is actually pronounced "sireen"...) Anyhoo, at about 1pm in the afternoon, the owner of the building saw me in the hall on my way to the ladies room. The owner of our building is, as they say in Texas, in oil. (There's a picture of the first oil well he ever dug hanging in the lobby.) I was surprised to see him today because he's usually in Dallas doing his Oil Business, leaving his sons to run his buildings and business dealings here in Podunk. His sons usually run our office building pretty well except that they insist on putting signs up for every little thing. There are signs by the front and back doors that say: "Please turn out the lights if you are the last one to leave the building in the evenings." A nice thought--and totally fine except....how in the hell would a person KNOW if they're the last one leaving the building? There's about 6 different companies in this building--and one wouldn't always necessarily KNOW whether or not they were the last person leaving, you get my drift? And I don't really want to go around knocking on office doors to check, know what I mean? There's also signs in the ladies' room. One reason is because there's a "sticky toilet"in there --it's the one in the middle. It sometimes gets stuck flushing and won't stop. So in each toilet stall booth there is actually a sign which, unbelievably, says the following: "The plumbing in here is tricky. Please make sure the toilet in the middle flushes completely when you are finished. If the toilet gets stuck and won't stop flushing, flush the toilet next to it to see if that will work. If that doesn't work, tell Wanda-Evelyn in the front office. If it's a weekend and Wanda-Evelyn isn't here and you don't know her cell phone number, please call Chip Beasely, the plumber, at ###-####." I'm not sure why they have never simply replaced the dang thing except that I guess they just trust us to follow the signs' directions. And there's another sign in the ladies' bathroom, over the door, that says: "If you are the last one out of the bathroom, please turn out the lights". Now that's easy--I always know whether or not I'm the last one out of the bathroom. But as for the flushing problem--I've never had to go to the third tier of the solution sequence because I've always gotten the sticky toilet to stop flushing by simply flushing the toilet next to it. (The first time that particular toilet ever did that to me, both of the other toilet stalls next to me were occupied---so I nervously cleared my throat in preparation to say something to either of the women in there about the flushing trick --- but the one on my right beat me to it by calling out to reassure me: "Don't worry, hon--I'm going to flush in a minute." It was Wanda-Evelyn.) Anyway, the owner of the building was in from Dallas today, on hand for the election. "Little girl?" he called, removing his cowboy hat. "Little girl, ah wonder if you girls could kindly do me a big ole favor?"(Note--in Texan hick town etiquette, distinguished older men always call younger women "little girl" --- and it doesn't mean anything chauvinistic or condescending. It just means that they think you are much younger than they are. If they thought you were older than them, they'd call you "ma'am", and that's okay, too.)"Of course, sir," I said. "What can we do for you?""Have y'all registered to vote? If so, my friend is out there on the street corner--running for office. If y'all git a chance today, could y'all git on over to the votin' place and put in a plug fer mah friend?""It's already taken care of, sir," I told him. "We took him and his family lunch a little while ago, and now Lu-Lu's gonna let all of us girls go over and vote.""Thankee kindly, sugarplum," he replied. "Y'all have a nice day," and he continued ambling on down the hall to his office, probably to do more Oil Business. I was going to ask him how bad the traffic is in Dallas these days but I didn't want to put him in a bad mood.(And I tried to get a peak into his office when he opened its door---I've been told there's a big marble statue of an oil rig in there--- but I didn't want to look obvious about being nosy, so I missed it.) I thought about what he'd asked of me, but I also thought about my own reasons for whether or not I wanted to vote for the judge candidate out on the street corner. And I have to admit up front that I haven't really studied all the political facts about the candidate---or his opponent for that matter. But I did think about the following: That poor man has been out there all dang day, campaigning for himself in the sun and wind, standing up on his feet the whole time. I've not seen him sit down ONCE all day long, not him nor his family. And, thus, here's the way I figure it: He's been standing out there for 12 solid hours--- so he ain't afraid of hard work. He's wearing jeans-- so he's not an "uptight" sort. He waves at strangers--- so he's not snobby or "uppity". His family is helping him out wholeheartedly--- so he's definitely a family man. He's got friends campaigning for him in the halls of local businesses--- so he's definitely a local man who knows his constituency. (Did I spell "constituency" right??) And as an added bonus, the guy also eats hot-links with mustard from Daddy Hawgs Hot-Links --- so he's definitely not some hoity-toity type around whom you wouldn't feel comfortable eating spare ribs with your bare hands then licking the sauce off your fingers. All of the above are great qualities in a man--just the kind of hardworking man that Podunk needs as a County Judge, right? This is definitely a sincere, hardworking family man who obviously cares about his community very much and is down-to-earth enough to entrust with the important job of deciding local law disputes down at the Podunk Courthouse. And also, it crossed my mind that this is the sort of man that...er.... just in case I ever have the unfortunate misfortune to ever be in some sort of situation in which I was in court, in front of him, for some sort of traffic violation or something--- and perhaps I just so happened to be short on cash for whatever hefty fine was involved or some such thing......then perhaps I could CERTAINLY remind him that I was the nice little Road Nurse who brought him donuts, coffee, and hot-links on Election Day.....Hell, he's got my vote!!
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