Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I take him with me to the poll

Every time I stand in line to vote I have this overwhelming swell of pride and I say a little silent prayer for one man who inspires me to be in that line. I just can't help but get emotional. Every time I cast my vote I think of my grandfather - a man whose patriotic duty meant more to him than anyone else I can think of.
With my beloved 'Grampa'
Like so many Americans William Duxbury must have caught his first sight of a place called America with a glimpse of a giant lady in a harbor. But he almost didn't survive the journey from England as a one year little boy, sick in his mothers arms - one of so many  passengers traveling to a land that promised a better life.

That baby who almost died on that journey became a man whose duties to his community (and the country he would know as his own) were second only to those of his family. His citizenship was a precious gift he never took for granted. 

His memory whispers still in his community of Geddes NY, even though all the houses of their old neighborhood now contain new families and new lives. He is not forgotten by anyone who ever knew him.He was a quiet, humble man who worked hard and never asked for anything more than what he earned. He never ran for public office because it wouldn't have fit his simple and quiet life. Yet, when there was something wrong he was the first one to stand up and speak up. He was the man who was always first to help a neighbor in need and first in line to petition for change when something in his community needed changing. When he passed away in December of 1988 a county law maker wrote a tribute to him in their local paper.

The man who taught me to swim also taught me to vote and to take it seriously. So at 6:30 am as I slipped that paper ballot into a digital feeding machine much different than he would have used to cast his last vote in an election just a month before he died.
I sighed and smiled after the blinking message came up  "BALLOT SUBMITTED".
Grandpa, I love you and I never, ever forget to vote.

I hope everyone has someone in their life whose soft voice or memory of it is a reminder to vote. And if tradition or duty hasn't etched itself, if there hasn't been that person, I hope that you are that guidance for someone in your future.