my grandma worked the voting centers when i was a little girl. my grandpa would drive her to the school early in the morning and pick her up late. (they had just the one car)
my favorite shirt as a kid, was a sweatshirt with the word *vote* printed across the chest in red, white and blue. a hand-me-down, for sure, probably from one of my cousins.
i remember the last mid-term election day, clearly-- probably better than most everyone else. it wasn't november 2nd, it was november 7, 2006. i can tell you what i was wearing, what i ate and what was on oprah. no, i wasn't running for a seat in any county that day.
my boys had a half day of school--we went out to lunch (taco bell) and did a little shopping. i wore jeans and a long sleeved grey t-shirt and my brand new coat, a black and cream houndstooth. both boys needed new basketball shoes. we were going to head to the outlet mall not far from home after lunch. but, i felt like going home. i didn't want to head to the outlet--we returned home. oprah had the cast of *bobby* on. i teared up a bit when they talked about the kennedy brothers.
then the phone rang.
and life changed.
my parents were returning home from visiting my aunt in the hospital--she had had surgery a few days before. my dad wanted to get home in time to vote. on a two lane road another driver, crossed the center lane and hit my parents car head-on. the other driver, ripped the entire driver's side of the car off--the side where my 6'6" dad sat.
my dad didn't vote that mid-term. he was revived in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and had emergency surgery that day. he received 26 units of blood within the first 24 hours and had a bruised heart and lung, 7 cracked ribs, his pelvis was broke in 2 places in front and 3 in the back. his spleen was cracked and removed, as was part of his stomach. he had a deep and wide laceration on his neck/jaw and countless scraps and cuts. within a few days all his bruises showed up purple and connected to each other. his entire body was bruised--entire. he remained in a coma for 11 days. his doctors did not smile when talking with us. they referred to him as a very very critical man. i made them use his name.
did the doctors and nurses believe he would live? no, they looked at his hospital bracelet and read his age and knew his injuries and thought his chances were slim.
when i ran into the hospital that afternoon, i was still wearing my * i voted* sticker.
i'm feeling a bit melancholy today. i always do on election days, but it doesn't keep me home.
"When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse."--paul hawken