On Election Day, I had the privilege of being a poll worker at the Brentwood Community Center. I’ve never been a poll worker before and was excited about the opportunity. What I expected was to spend a day in service, to feel patriotic assisting with one of our most basic rights and responsibilties.
What I did not expect was to meet such wonderful people and to learn more about the tiny community of Winslow, Arkansas.
My fellow poll workers were:
Art and Kathy – a married couple and the “leaders” of the tiny band of workers. Art was the supervisor and Kathy manned the Touchscreen voting machine.
Donna and Larry – another married couple who manned one of the sign-in sheets. They were a friendly and loving couple who shared stories of raising their grandchildren and tales of Donna’s 89-year old father’s cross-country journeys in his motor home. Donna also shared vegetarian recipes which I can’t wait to try.
Marilee – a warm and friendly woman who verified voter identification. Marilee and I traded dog stories back and forth.
Throughout the day, each of these new friends filled me in on the goings-on of the community, telling me about the five-acre pond going in on someone’s property, talking about who’d been cutting hay in the last few days, who had the best tomatoes, which zucchini bread to buy at the farmers’ market.
I learned about Winslow events:
Monthly Winslow Community Development meetings
Weekly Farmers’ Market
The Brentwood Bluegrass concerts
I enjoyed getting to know some of the local residents who came in to vote, hearing about what they had planned for the day: chopping wood, cutting hay, going to work, home-schooling their children, volunteering. But my favorite parts were the conversations from spouses that either said they were going home to remind their spouse to come vote, or from spouses who had been reminded to vote. Too often we hear about voter apathy, and it was heartwarming to see a community that thought it was still important to vote.
I’ll admit, I thought it was going to be a very long day between 6:45 a.m. when I arrived, to 7:45 p.m. when we left the Brentwood Community Center. But, it went quickly. And I not only came away with what I’d expected — pride in participating in a patriotic duty. I also came away with something unexpected. I had a slice of American pie by getting to know many of the people and events of the lovely little community of Winslow, Arkansas.