I have been away from the bog for a while. I’m not sure why, exactly. I’ve been busy, we’ve been occupied with outside projects since the weather has turned, and, I guess, I’ve been feeling a little detached. In any case, I’m hoping to get back to regular posts. I’m going to start tonight with something that popped up in my Facebook memories from exactly two years ago today. I’m sorry to say that I forgot the historic nature of this date, but I was happy to be reminded. As I read these words I wrote two years ago, it made me smile. Here’s hoping it does the same for you.
In the mood for another story? Because I have one for you.
So, two weeks ago Jeremy and I went with his parents to the Landis Valley Native Plant and Herb sale. I was wearing my HRC Love Conquers Hate t-shirt. Jeremy and I walked into one vendor’s booth and a middle-aged woman (middle-er than me, yes,) working in the booth said hello and then took a long pause, looking at my shirt with what I took as a skeptical eye. She finally looked up at me and said, with a point of her chin towards my shirt and no irony, “Do you believe that?” I smiled big and said, with no hesitation, “Yep. I do.” The woman paused, Jeremy paused, and I just kept smiling. Finally, she broke into a grin and huffed, “Good. Keep believing.”
Flash forward 2 weeks to today. At about 3:00 this afternoon, my phone began to vibrate with a vengeance. I was walking to my car to head to Paradise Elementary (I know, right?) and I checked my phone to find posts, texts, and messages from friends near and far sharing with me the news from Harrisburg. I remember getting a chill – a good chill – and I’m pretty sure I had a big smile on my face as I drove to Paradise.
But wait, there is more. When I got home this evening after the meeting and a few errands, I walked down the street to the church where we vote. I will admit, I was pretty excited to be able to vote for any candidate who will remove Corbett from office. But I digress. As I walked in, I was greeted by the loud voice of a woman who was expounding from the polling booth, arms flailing to her captive audience of poll workers and another guy who just seemed to be hanging out there. “This country was built on GOD’S law, no matter what anybody says, and when this country messes with GOD’S law, the whole country is going to pay the price, you mark my words…” Ok, I may not have that word for word, but it’s pretty darn close, and the (self-) righteous indignation in her voice was unmistakable. I walked calmly to the poll workers, with a smile, and, as I handed my stuff to the poll workers, I looked over my shoulder with a big smile and said to the woman, “Well, that’s funny, because about 60% of the people in this country built on God’s law seem to disagree with you.” At this point, the room got oddly quiet, and the poll workers seemed much more interested in looking at their documents than at anybody else. (Except for the guy hanging out, who was grinning. I think he was enjoying this, but I’m not sure why.) The woman stalked over to the table of poll workers, now much closer to me, and said, even louder, “Well, they can believe what they want, but I’m going to speak my mind! You can’t tell me not to!” I’m pretty sure the poll workers were wondering if they could click their heels to get the hell out of there just then, except for grinning guy and the older lady at the end of the table who was dutifully eating a plate of fruit. I looked over at the woman and said, “Oh, I wasn’t telling you not to speak your mind. I thought, by your tone, that you wanted a response. I was just responding.” A poll worker then broke out of her stupor and said to me, “Are you a Democrat or a Republican? Because you can’t vote if you’re not a Democrat or Republican.” I replied, “I am most definitely a Democrat.” I think she thought she had defused the situation and she said, “We’ve had people try to vote today who couldn’t. I don’t think that’s right. They should be able to if they want to. That stinks. Everybody should be equal.” I had moved down to the man who would give me my voter card, even closer to the woman, and I looked at her and said, “Imagine that. Equal rights.” At that, the woman stalked out of the room, I took my voter card, and I went to my voting booth. The poll workers seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, and turned their attention to an older man who had walked in. I heard them ask him if he was a Democrat or Republican, and he said, with a chuckle, “I’m not just a Democrat, I’m a LIBERAL Democrat.” And the older lady looked up from her fruit plate and said, “ME, too!” And then she looked at me with a giant grin.
And that’s how I had a conversation in my small Central Pennsylvania town about today’s historic decision without mentioning the decision itself.
It has meant so much to me, today, to see the excitement of so many friends. Not for me, but for us. State by state, conversation by conversation.
And because I know you are wondering, Neighbor Dan, the dirty old man, told Jeremy today that he’s not sure how this is going to work. So clearly there are more conversations to be had and stories to be told. But, as the woman at Landis Valley said, I’m just going to keep believing that Love Conquers Hate. It’s worked pretty good so far.