08 November 2016
SOOO . . . voted.
Turnout was light in the rural sticks I inhabit in New Hampshire. This be me first time voting in this little place. There is no common or green. There is no village of little shops and civil war monuments. There is no meeting house or great town hall. No, there is a crossroads and at the top is an old colonial house with a sign on one side says town hall and on the other library. Next to that is another old colonial house. Across from that is the small elementary school that only goes to grade 5. If you look across the road there is a church and across from that two small cape homes and that's the town centre.
The kiddos had the day off so the town could vote. I don't think there are more than 250 people live here. No wonder turnout seemed light! That's because it was, we are light on population.
Dragon told the wife where she lives on the Jersey shore it was like a ghost town. Hardly anyone voting. Could be they didn't like the choices and simply stayed home?
I heard Manchester had lines. Wait was maybe 15 minutes but it moved constantly. People in and out as quick as they could colour in the dot.
Where I used to live which actually had a village green, you'd go to the high school (which was usually in session), check in, get your ballot and vote in a curtained booth. Then you'd hand the ballot over to one of the two people manning the ballot box and off you go.
But not today Berta, not today. Today was entirely a different process. You go to the empty school and outside is one democratic candidate holding her own sign with one supporter holding another. They greet you sweetly, hope you will vote for her and you have a small chat which warms you to her and her one supporter. Not like me former polling place where you made your way inside between dozens of teenagers who were making fun of the voters and screaming democrats on one side of the walk and republicans on the other (seemed like hundreds of these sign toters) and you were glad to get inside to more teenagers and lines to vote. NO nothing like that this time. I checked in, I got introduced to the polling workers at the tables, I was given my license back with a paper ballot and onward to the voting booth I did go, eldest child in tow (in this state you can bring the young one with you). I voted, and as I did I told the eldest kiddo why I was voting for this person and not for that person and down the list I went. We took a pic of him and me ballot (also legal in our state).
As soon as I was done we went to another table where we were marked off as having voted and while the marking was being done we were introduced to the selectmen of the town and small chats like, "Oh you bought so and so's place. How you like living here?" Then once the small talk is done, you shuffle to the left and hand your folded ballot to the one gent who is manning the voting box and he smiles and gives you or in me case me kiddo an I VOTED sticker and then you have to walk passed another table of selectman and do the same with introductions and small talk about chickens and grumpy neighbours you haven't met yet but live next to, and you meet the local policeman (the only one we have) who shows you pictures of his kids and grandkids, but you aren't done yet. You move off into the hallway where there is a church lady taking donations for the town anniversary and Boy Scouts. More small talk and how wonderful an experience it is for the kiddo here to witness his dad excising his civic right etc. As you finish with that you try to stroll towards the door where your neighbours you've never met or seen before are stopped to ask if you are going to the town supper next week. And oh isn't the food fine and they hope to see you there. And then after that you might make it out the door after you hold it open for a few elderly stragglers who also give you a chat up as they thank you for being doorman and commenting on the young one learning about the voting process. You get out the door and think you are done but you aren't yet. The woman running for office who wanted your vote is looking at you in anticipation that she hopes you voted for her, and when you say yes, you did, she shakes your hand and thanks you and mentions she'll be dropping by for coffee one day. Oh goody you think as you get to your car and pile in heaving a sigh its over. But it isn't. As you pull out you better wave as you go by because everyone is waving at you.
The one drawback was there was no free coffee and baked goods. That would have been perfect for a stroll about the polling booths and chatting with everyone in creation. Actually, popcorn would have been better it was like being in a reality show and slowly meandering about like you had all the time in the world. Actually, I kind of liked it, hell I did like it. Next time I will bring a box of joe and some donuts and stick around a little longer. Maybe by then I'll have met the grumpy neighbour and have stories to tell about the chickens and the rabbits. I must have met 20 of the 250 residents of me small town and thinking they all be fine upstanding New Englanders. But wait -- are they? I've been told New England natives are cold, standoffish and if you weren't born here, you are an outsider. Now I found that true of me old town, the one with the scenic village green and the huge high school and known for it's "snobbery." On hindsight, most of the people that live there are not New Englanders, much of the population of now 5,000 are all out-of-staters. I now live in a town where the snobs wouldn't want to live because there is "nothing" out here. The natives are true natives and kind, friendly and no hint of snobbery. I hope no one from the old town discovers me new town because I like it just the way it is -- snob-free and like family. I hope too this election will go smoothly no matter who wins and we can continue to appreciate one another no matter who we are or where we are from.
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