Monday, May 17, 2010

Small Town Election Day

Tomorrow is Primary Election Day here in Pennsylvania and the negative campaign ads are getting a little tiring. Rather than dwelling on the negative vibes, I prefer to remember an election day that made me happy.
It was the Fall General Election, maybe a decade ago. I don’t even remember who was on the ballot. It was a non-presidential year so the turn out was pretty low. And it was my first time voting in our new town, Osceola Mills.
Osceola Mills is the quintessential small town U.S.A. Life moves pretty slow and new residents are a novelty. Everyone knew who I was just by the fact that they didn’t recognize me.
At the time, I worked for the local newspaper and my husband worked for a congressman so elections were a bigger deal for me than they are now. I had the day off because I would be working well into the night gathering results for the next day’s edition. That meant I could vote mid-morning and miss the rush of commuter voters.
Voting took place in the historic borough building. It was close to my house so I could walk there. I approached the building through a small green space. It was still early so there was a chill in the air.
A woman, wrapped in an afghan, approached me and asked if I belonged to that Robert Young on Stone Street. Although the familiarity of the question freaked me out, I politely answered, “Well, I’m married to him.” We chatted for a while then she handed me some campaign literature and I went inside.
Later that day, the sun came out full force so I decided to take my dog for a walk. I retraced my steps to the borough building and exchanged some more polite pleasantries with the long-time residents.
Walking through Osceola was like walking through Mayberry. There was something comforting about being in a town where time seemed to stand still. Everyone knew everything about you, yet they still liked you.
More than six years after we moved away move, I still have warm memories about how friendly and welcoming the community was. Sure I’ll vote tomorrow, but pulling into a crowded parking lot and fighting my way past a line of people thrusting pamphlets in my face just won’t be the same.
About the photo: This is a vintage puzzle piece charm for sale by Wooden Nickels Jewelry on Etsy.

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Ooh,a comment! How delightful.


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