Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Something remarkable happened yesterday.

I finished a new pair of socks.

I got a sunburn, in November.

I started a project that isn't socks.

And we elected a new President.

The socks are my new "Hope" socks, the "Aquaphobia" pattern made from Black Bunny Fibers' "Audacity" yarn. I started these socks the night before the primary, and mostly finished them last night.

I was hoping that they'd be lucky socks, but it hasn't gone very well for the candidates who held the socks-in-progress. Nels Ackerson lost his race, and John Polles won't know the outcome of his until all the provisional ballots are counted - right now his challenger is 21 votes up. But they're lovely socks, and they'll keep me warm. I just won't ask anyone to hold them again.

I got a sunburn because I spent the day outside, campaigning for Nels. It's been amazingly beautiful over the past week - 70s every day, and nights staying in the 50s. So it was a good day to be outside.

And a long day. Mine started at 4:30, with hitting the snooze button a lot. By 5:45 I was at the polling place in Battle Ground, handing out Nels leaflets. When I arrived the line was nearly a block long, and it stayed busy until 7:30 or so. Some trouble with the poll workers there made it difficult to hand out leaflets, so I moved to another location, and spent the rest of the day there, in the company of various members of the Truitt family. Randy Truitt is John Polles's challenger for the District 26 seat, but they were all very pleasant people, so what could have been an awkward day turned out to be a lot of fun. Since I didn't have any Polles literature to hand out, I'd talk to voters about Ackerson, and the Truitts would give their spiel, and everything went smoothly. We even managed to find a good spot to sit and talk to people - figuring that anyone who complained would have to complain about both of us, and people weren't likely to do that.

Some people snarled at both of us, though. That was odd. Most of the voters we approached were pleasant - some said they'd vote, some were politely non-committal, and some said "no thanks." But the snarlers surprised me. I would think they'd be straight-ticket voters, so why would they snarl at both of us? There wasn't even a third-party candidate in either race. Maybe the "no liquor sales on Election Day" law hits some people harder than others.

Voter turnout was steady, but slow - so I managed to get some work done on my new Moebius scarf, "Flowing." I took this picture at 5:00, because I knew it would be too dark by 6:00 - but by the time the polls closed I'd finished the first five rounds. I'm planning to wear this on Inauguration Day.
A quick trip home, and it was off to the local Democrats' party at The Muse, an event facility right across the street from the Courthouse (and next to Republican Headquarters!) It was a lovely party - lots of good food from local restaurants, and lots of good company. I kept knitting, watched TV, and enjoyed the crowd - there were volunteers from all over the country who'd come in to help the Obama campaign. In the past, we've been lucky to get a single candidate visit for an election - but not this year! I talked to an older black woman from Georgia, who just couldn't believe that "so many caucasians" were supporting Obama - "and the smart ones, too!" All I could do was smile.

And smile more. It was about 11:00 when the news came in. The local candidates gave their (mostly concession, I fear) speeches, and then one of the Students for Obama got up to say some nice words about how nice everyone was, and how things were looking good - "thanks to your work, Barack Obama could be the next President" - when he was interrupted by shouts of "he IS!!!!" from the people who were watching their laptops instead of the local TV station. We got CNN on in time to see the news - "Barack Obama Elected President." We saw John McCain's concession speech, and I wept for that great and good man who had given so much and then gone so wrong, hoping that in a few days we'll get back the old John McCain we loved in 2004.

We spilled into the street - many of the students headed out to smoke cigars, and I headed further out as I learned that I seem to be violently allergic to cigar smoke. People cheered. People cried. People made phone calls to share with friends, even if it was impossible to hear a thing. People cheered some more.

And then it was back inside.

For this. Barack Obama, newly elected as the 44th President of the United States. I kept knitting - finishing five more rounds, so that when I wear this scarf I'll remember that I did the four center stripes on Election Day, 2008. The day we changed history. The day things finally started to look better. The day I, for the first time ever, voted for the winner.

Wow. Yes, we did.


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