Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I Voted Early
To my son Tommy,
I visited your Great Grandpa Leo on Father's Day in the rehab/nursing home. He was better than I had seen him in a long time and it looks like he might be able to stick to the plan to be home in thirty days. Anyways, the normal conversations ensued.
I asked about how he was feeling. He asked about my work. I asked about his exercises. He asked about Roro and her health. We talked about new times and old. He told me stories that he has told me a thousand times before but I listened intently as if it was the first telling.
We went back and forth with verses from his favorite poems. He would start, "The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day;" and together we would muddle through the rest until we would both finish with "But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out." And then we would go onto Dangerous Dan McGrew and finish with The Cremation of Sam McGee, "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold..." This time we added the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello "Who's on first" routine.
After all that, we would go back into some old stories he had told me and some questions he asked a few minutes ago. This time I decided to add current events to the small talk and told him about the current state primary. He seemed concerned and he needed to know how he would get to vote.
It struck me, that with everything going on, with all his medical things, how voting just became his number one concern. I mean if I lay there with all those problems, perhaps I would allow myself to skip a vote. But this WWII vet has no intention of skipping any vote if he has anything to do with it. It is his right and responsibility. It is too valuable of a gift to be given up lightly or even in dire circumstances like being in a nursing home.
Anyways, with this thought in my mind, I loaded up our family after work and headed to do our voting for the primary early. You came too, and the election judge even said it was okay for you to watch and tap in one of my selections on the touch screen voting booth. You were pretty excited about the whole experience and I am glad that you got to see how important voting is through example. You even got an "I Voted Early" sticker for your efforts. A teachable moment indeed.
Afterwards, we went out to dinner as a reward for doing our civic duty. On the way home, we saw Keiffer Mitchell walking up the street and knocking on doors, asking for support the tried and true way. I pulled over and rolled down the window to say hi and he came over and shook my hand and thanked us for our support. It opened the door to a thousand questions from you and more opportunity to explain voting and politics and such. You may have not understood it all yet, but the groundwork is being laid for a future civic minded citizen.
So in the future, when you are finally old enough to vote, and you think it is too much of a hassle or a bother, I want you to think about your Great Grandpa Leo, who fought for and served this country, over the Atlantic and over the Pacific, and how from his hospital type bed in the nursing home, his only concern was how he could get his voice heard by getting his vote cast. Then go get your vote on.
Sincerely with love from your dad,