Our Common Good

Just got home.  Can’t say how many doors I knocked on today.  Drove 13 people with no transportation to vote. 

Best was an elderly woman who yelled from an upstairs window to ask if I was there to take her to the post office.  I said no, I was there to drive her to vote if she wanted to.  She said yes.  Then a mostly toothless man, older than me came to the door and told me he had already voted and that “she” was too old and hardly ever left the house.  But then she showed up behind him with her scarf on her head, her purse on her arm and her cane in hand.  She told him to get out of the way.

She took my arm and I escorted her to my car, got her settled in and we drove the 8 miles into town.  I drove to the community hall where voting was taking place and she tells me to take my time, she isn’t in a hurry.  I told her this is where she would vote, but she said, she was worried about getting to the post office to pay her electric bill so the lights didn’t get turned off.  So I drove her to the post office, helped her inside and waited while she bought a money order and mailed in her electric bill payment. 

Got her back in the car, resigned that I had kind of gotten used - but not in a way I really resented.  Except the next person I needed to go pick up was about five miles out in the opposite direction.  As we started back out of town, she says, “I want to vote for Obama.  He has been good to the Indians.” (She is Lakota).  So I pulled over and told her that I would be happy to take her to vote, but she wasn’t sure she was registered - had not voted in years.  I told her I would go in and check if she was on the rolls - it was really windy and chilly so she didn’t want to get back out if she couldn’t vote. 

Luckily, she was on the inactive rolls so all she needed to do to vote was fill out a registration card.  They gave it to me and I took it out to the car, put it on the clipboard I had with my assignments and she took it and started filling it out.  After a few minutes, she asked if I could help because she was having trouble reading it all.  I did.  When we got to asking for her date of birth, I was floored when she said 1912!  She will be 100 on the 28th of this month. 

We finished the card and she signed it and I took it back in for her - and asked the poll worker to look at the date of birth and asked if she could take a ballot to her in the car so she would not have to get out in the wind again.  They were very happy to do so, sending someone who spoke Lakota to help her.  She voted for only one office - the president.  And she voted for Barack Obama.  I was standing there since I had to show them where my car was and I heard.

I drove her home and helped her out of the car and then back to the house.  The older man opened the door as we approached and asked if she had gone to the post office.  Her reply was, “Yes and I voted.”  I’ve been smiling over that all day.

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