13 March 2007

small town voting day

the second tuesday in march folks in our small town go to the polls and vote on issues of local importance. who our selectmen will be. whether the fire department will get their new engine. if the teachers will get a salary increase. how much the town will raise through taxation for summer road repairs. theres a familiar pattern to voting in our small town. we gather in the old meeting house now open only for elections. the giant woodstove warms us as we wait in line and climb the few steps to the ancient stage where the voting booths are set. the same faces year after year ask us to state our names when they know full well who we all are. we wave across the room to neighbors. marvel at how much children have grown. have long conversations by the doorway. buy cookies and fudge and baked beans to benefit the local scholarship fund. sit in the pews and discuss weather and politics and whos already tapping their maples. when its finally time to go we negotiate our way through the driveway now rutted and muddied by the wheels of hundreds of cars. drive past the placards stuck in the snowbanks. a final wave to the candidate whos still shaking hands and smiling as evening comes.

No comments: