It’s Election Day here in Florida. So, get out and vote (if you know what you are doing!). And, let me warn you, I’m in a silly mood – no serious message today.
Many years ago, I got a chance to work for and with politicians. It was fun and exciting. But, I learned quickly that I was much more interested in policy rather than politics. It’s an important distinction that kept me from making a career misstep.
While I was working with the politicians, I was asked to organize our party’s involvement in our local parade. And, one election year we had quite a few candidates that wanted to participate. (For my Olathe friends, it was the “Old Settler’s” Parade; one of my favorite events!) For each politician I had to find a convertible and those were hard to get. Our committee called and begged everyone we thought might be able to help and on the day of the parade we had enough cars and drivers to carry every candidate.
Two things happened that day that I will never forget.
Senator Bob Dole and his wife, Liddy, are two of the nicest people. I had interned for the Senator and had met them many times. They were the “rock stars” at our little parade. I was pleased to show them to the beautiful convertible that we had gotten for them. They are pleasant people and, compared to some politicians I have worked with, very low maintenance. It wasn’t until their car had taken them less than half-way through the parade that I realized we had made a huge mistake. Apparently the car we had gotten for them LOOKED great but ran terribly. The engine started smoking and the driver had to pull over; the car was overheating.
The Senator laughed it off and the two of them walked the rest of the parade route. They smiled and shook hands and chatted with the crowd. I was terribly embarrassed while they were so gracious. At the end of the parade, they said that they had had a great time and that they hoped that the car had not suffered permanent damage.
Whew, was I relieved.
But, the other memorable event from that day didn’t go as well. The Republican candidate for Treasurer of the State of Kansas had come to our little parade for the first time in known history. (I didn’t know that our state had a Treasurer before then!) He was a very nice man and his wife was delightful. But, we had huge problems with their participation.
First, his name ended in two sets of the letters “e” and “r.” Let’s call him Mr. “Smitherer.” Anyway, the sign painter had decided on their own that the spelling was incorrect and produced a sign that said the man’s name was Mr. “Smither.” I was shocked! How could I had an extra “er” to the nice man’s name? He had traveled to Olathe all the way from the western side of the state. Eventually, someone found a sheet of poster board, handwrote “er” on it and taped it to the signs on the side of the convertible. It looked horrible. But, Mr. and Mrs. “Smitherer” were so nice and so understanding. For a fleeting moment, I thought we were in the clear.
And, then we all saw the problem. The two-door convertible that the “Smitherers” were going to ride in was pretty old and in not-that-great of shape. (I would say that when you are running for State Treasurer that you get the cars that are less desirable, but I have already told you that Senator Dole’s car tried to blow up. I would image that you have already questioned my judgment!) Anyway, we had decorated it with crepe paper and balloons and a pretty sad set of signs on the sides (with extra the added “er” on both sides) and it looked “ok.” But, the floor board was pretty much gone, especially in the back seat. The carpet on the floor in the back was covering several large holes.
Whoever was going to ride on the back of the convertible had to leap from the door frame next to the driver’s seat onto the back seat; they couldn’t step on the floor for fear of falling through the rusty floorboard. The driver/owner of the car was panicked that someone would accidently step on the floor and do more damage to the car.
The problem was that Mrs. “Smitherer” was not tall and not slender and was wearing a dress and heals. Mr. “Smitherer” looked at the car, the signs with added “er” and then glowered at me. He had already been nice about the signs, he wasn’t going to solve this problem for me.
I grabbed some of our volunteers. One stood on the back seat of the car and one stood outside of the car. Mrs. “Smitherer” stood on the door frame, trying to balance with a very nervous smile. One man grabbed her left arm and the other her right arm. She jumped a little and they lifted her up and onto the back seat. She landed with a little “whoosh” sound and we were home free. As they pulled up into the parade line up, I started breathing again.
And then I realized that I needed to find somewhere else to be fast. I had no idea how we were going to get her out of that car!
Politics – it ain’t as glamorous as it looks!!
“The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (Job 5:11). OK, this verse really has nothing to do with today’s story – I just like it!!