Greetings from Bratislava, Slovakia! Not your normal post-election day dateline for the More to Come…blog. Let me tell you how I ended up hearing about the presidential election results while flying over the Atlantic.
I woke up at home on November 4th and after the normal morning chores, I headed down to the library to vote. Well, I wasn’t really surprised to find that the line ran around the edges of BOTH parking lots and extended almost to the street. Historic election indeed! It was great, even if I did stand in line for 2 hours and 10 minutes before casting my vote. But it felt good to be part of something so special and it felt REALLY good to vote with a positive feeling about a candidate (instead of the usual voting to play defense). The local high school had some kids out selling coffee and pastries to help with relief efforts in Africa. They did well, but they could have done gangbusters if they’d had chairs to rent or would have been able to give a back massage on one of those special chairs. My back was hurting and my dogs were barking after 2 hours – but it was worth it.
So off to work for the rest of the morning. My colleague Dolores and I had lunch on the 4th at Kramerbooks – the highly independent (and highly liberal) bookstore and restaurant at Dupont Circle. We both started laughing when we saw the specials of the day. Here’s how they read:
Halloween & Election Year Specials – Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid
Obama Family Chili – $12 – no charge if you make under $5/year – Perfect for a Socialist Underground Gathering
The Biden Pot Pie – $14 – Homey, Comfortable, Predictable – Worth a Two Hour Train Ride
McCain’s Ribs – $160 – $16 after tax rebate – “Squeezed with Lemons, because that makes it taste better.” Maybe that’s why he kept grimacing at those debates.
Palin’s Alaskan Fisherwoman’s Saucy Salmon – Fresh Atlantic Salmon filet – just to piss her off. A sort of culinary experience of unrelated events.
I decided on this historic day that I had to try the Obama Family Chili, and it didn’t disappoint. Just the right amount of spices and lots of good toppings!
So by mid-afternoon I wrapped up things at the office and headed for the airport. I was off for Slovakia for the meeting of the executive committee of the International National Trusts Organisation (or INTO). Unfortunately, it was timed so that I would be in the air during the election coverage. I saw 7 p.m. pass and knew the Virginia polls had closed. Then 7:30 and 8:00 and then 9:00…and I knew that more and more polls were closing and that the race was being called – and I didn’t have a clue. But thankfully, somewhere over the dark Atlantic, a flight attendant came through and told those of us who kept asking that Obama had won. A quiet cheer arose around me.
I sat there in the dark and thought about what this means for America. There’s so much to contemplate, so much to imagine. But I kept thinking about how my mom was the PTA President during the time our local elementary school in Tennessee was integrated. It was one of the most frustrating years of her life, and we heard about it at home. She said the children weren’t the problem…it was the parents who fought integration. Well, 40 years later, those children have grown up and guess what? While we may not have imagined it possible at the time, those children – along with our children AND our parents – have just elected our first African American President.
So, I’ll end where I began. Here I sit in a restaurant in Bratislava, waiting to get my hotel room to catch a nap before dinner, and thinking about what a strange, wonderful election day this has been.
More to come…