A Slice of American Pie

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.

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11 Responses to A Slice of American Pie

  1. keliwright says:

    Good for you, Jan. Every time I go in to vote I consider volunteering. It is something I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe November is my time. I hope you remembered to vote while you were there!

  2. Denton Gay says:

    Good post, Jan. Obviously, there is still a sense of community there. That is something that our modern technology and way of life has lost. The area where I live had those strong community relationships that have since eroded away to almost zilch. I miss it.

  3. erinleary says:

    What a great feeling! I think the sense of community is what makes life so great. The feeling of belonging to something larger than ourselves makes me feel connected, concerned, and committed to a better future. Thanks for sharing this.

    • janmorrill says:

      Thank you, Erin. You’re right about a sense of community. I suppose we get some “community” on social media, but I worry sometimes about what we’re missing, as we think we’re getting what we need from social media. I felt a depth and richness with this community that is certainly missing with social media.

  4. Mendy Knott says:

    Excellent post, Jan. Perhaps our greatest patriotic duty is simply to get to know our own surrounding communities and their history better. Good for you on all counts. Thanks. Mendy

  5. Beth Carter says:

    Beautifully written and detailed, as always, Jan. You made me fall in love with Winslow, Arkansas. I could picture the farmers, spouses, tomatoes and community pride. Well done on the blog post and for volunteering. You’re right–it’s a privilege to vote and we must not forget that. You’re such a busy girl!

  6. rgayer55 says:

    You know, we hear so much negative news it’s nice to hear something positive for a change. I’m very blessed to live in a small community and have known many of the poll workers my entire life. I can really relate to today’s post, and especially love the title. Thank you for your service, Jan.

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