An elderly couple in their 80's ambled up. The man pulled out a small folding chair and sat down. "Bad feet" he said. His wife smiled. I sipped my coffee and pondered the line in the cold morning darkness. It was too dark to read. "Haven't missed a presidential election since I was 18" I said. The woman smiled. Soon we were fast friends.
They were both retired school teachers. He was a PE instructor, she taught most subjects to the early grades. They worked for over 40 years each and then retired. Another school teacher a few people up leaned back. She was thinking of the Drop program for retirement but she wasn't sure. Her husband turned around and started talking to the man. They had friends in common. They knew the current PE instructor at Pinecrest.
The sun rose. Sample ballots were handed out. The woman had a question about an amendment. I squinted it at it. After removing all the double and triple negatives, we agreed that the increased value of a home as a result of adding solar panels or wind energy should not be taxed.
The time flew by. 15 or 20 Americans standing in line to vote, sharing stories, laughing, and all studiously avoiding any venture into who should win the presidential election. We were there to vote, not campaign. We respected each other's choices, and admired the success of the elderly couple who had managed to do it right. Meet; marry; raise a family; work; invest; retire; enjoy the ride along the way.
It ended too soon. The polls opened. The line moved fast. Phone numbers were exchanged before we got our ballots. And then we voted and returned to our lives, having shared this wonderful American experience together one morning last week.
For another type of uniquely American experience, read this NY Times article on the fight to save the life of an Afghan wounded by the Taliban.