I waited patiently with a motley gang of early voters outside the firehouse-cum-police station. Like everyone else there, I was trying to avoid even longer lines on election day. Quiet conversations kept most people entertained, and everything was normal, until the event which instantly stopped all chatter, and occupied my mind for hours afterward.
Four women walked slowly by the line of voters, straight to the entrance, and spoke with the poll volunteer controlling the door. And in the local equivalent of a bouncer at a trendy club letting the cute girls cut in, they jumped the queue and went straight in.
The critical point that I’ve omitted is that the polling place has the very thoughtful and reasonable policy of admitting people of advanced years without waiting in line. And now comes the show-stopper … their ages were 103, 98, 89 … and the baby who was chauffeuring them around was 70. Only one of the ladies had a walker, but all walked gingerly under their own power. Amazing! My first thought was, “What must it be like to have lived 103 years?”
When Gracie (she looked like a “Gracie” to me) was 5 years old, she could have watched her father march off to WW I, and horses would’ve far outnumbered cars as the transport of the day. At age 16, Gracie’s mother probably would not hear of her wearing one of those racy flapper dresses. Her family could have lost everything in the crash of ’29 and struggled through the Great Depression. And Gracie, the adult, watched in horror as Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941, pulling the US into WW II.
After the war, life probably seemed to accelerate around her. TV in the 50s, The Beatles in the 60s, and the ultimate “leap for mankind” with humans on the moon in 1969. At this point, Gracie was 60.
And 43 years later, here she is, nattily dressed (carrying her designer handbag) and casting her vote for the next president. Who knows what lifestyle enabled Gracie to do so well for so long, but I, and everyone else there, were in awe. And as I walked out the door, she was just sitting down to vote on one of those new-fangled voting machines … you know … computers.
P.S. The photo is my Mother and Father. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it as long as Gracie.