Monday, November 10, 2008

Living History

By Margy McCarthy

I hope all the celebration hasn't gotten too old, because this is my first chance to talk about last Tuesday.


Four years ago during the last few weeks before the election, I remember saying to an apathetic friend, "It has never been this important." And I believed that with all my heart.

You all know how that worked out.

So this time, we were in four years deeper,we were in over our heads- and it was that much more important. And this time I knew we had the candidate, and I got up off my rear and made the phone calls and attended the rally and wrote the blogs and the letter to the editor and, and, and... This time I walked my talk.

And look how this worked out!

I think I'm still glowing. Am I still glowing?

But it was more this time than just me doing the right thing to help get a necessary job done. This time we all did it. And you could feel it in the air- even here in Arizona. And you still can. Change- she is a-comin'.

This was son Snooze's first election. He voted early by mail. He phoned me a couple of weeks ago with his ballot in hand to talk about several of the ballot propositions, and we had a good time decoding the legalese and he made his decisions wisely.

I called for a sub on Tuesday because I knew I wouldn't be able to stand being cooped up in my room at school all day. I got up at my usual time and went about my normal getting-ready routines; rather than pulling into the school parking lot bright and early, I would pull into City Hall. When I went in to wake Shriek for school, she said, "Can't I just come with you today?"

And I thought- "Why not?"

So she did. She waited while I voted, and then we drove to headquarters. She regaled me with her observations at the polls- "There were so many people! All kinds of people- there was a policeman and his wife, there was the pregnant lady with her baby, there was the old woman who could hardly walk..."

When we arrived at headquarters, the place was humming like a hive. We got phone lists and settled down at the phone banks. I made a call so Shriek could see how to handle the paperwork, and then we got to it.

I have never been so proud of that girl. She was a trooper. Ironically enough, she found her social studies teacher's name on her list. "Mom, do I really need to call Mr. F? We know he won't be home." I told her to go ahead and call when she came to him, and then she could just mark NH on her tally for not home. So we made calls. She went through her script, and did a nice job, and as she finished one call, I heard her say, "McCarthy." Then she laughed and hung up. "Honey, why are you telling your last name?" I asked. "That was Mr. F," she said. "That was his cell number, he was on prep, and he answered. When I finished talking he asked me 'Shriek who?' so I told him!"

When I finished my call list several hours later, I found my daughter across the hall, compiling literature for the canvassers. Her enthusiasm was palpable. She caught me up on the voting lines around the country she'd seen on CNN. She chattered nonstop as we drove home, anxious to start seeing the returns.

And when she got back to school the next day? Mr F said she didn't have to make up the quiz she had missed. She got full credit. "You were out there helping to make history yesterday," he told her, "that's worth a lot."


Not Too Old said...

I LIKE Mr. F! And yes, she was a part of history-something she can make her grandkids moan about.

Barb McKone said...

I think it's so great you took Shriek to work the phones! Good for you- it's never too early to start... she'll remember that she campaigned for Obama for the rest of her life! (and that she did it with you...)

Daisy said...

That Mr. F is a gem. He understands.