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The heat is upon us. It’s here to reign supreme until late September. I was in denial of this, still pretending we were in a summer trial run, until I played tennis down at Crawford on Sunday afternoon during a 106-degree heat index. I didn’t realize we were under a heat advisory until Wil and I were near death, both playing tennis in a lagged state; slowly and silently. We foolishly ignored the best advice the advisory offered, which was to not play tennis.
Despite the heat, Water Valley had what I hear was a terrific outdoor event on Main Street last Saturday night. Everyone I know went to the concert in the Pocket Park and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! I find it entirely unfair that I was out of town and missed it, as I mainly participate in any events at all so that I have something to write about in my column each week. If you’re ever looking for a good reason to get involved in your community, add the weekly pressure of publishing 500 words to friends and a whole county full of sometimes-moody strangers every Monday morning. You’ll get out there and participate really fast!
A couple of years ago I was asked to be a poll worker and eagerly agreed, purely motivated by “good column material.” Well, lo and behold, I enjoyed it in ways unrelated to the column and was fascinated by the whole process.
Tammy Tedford called me up recently to work the polls again. This time I was put in a position with actual responsibility. I found the whole reporting and tallying process much akin to running a waitress sales report at the end of the night with all the subtracting cash, adding credit card tips, filling out sales sheets, etc. Except this time, the money was votes, and I left work still broke.
Also akin to food service, voting is apparently an opportunity for men to practice their dad jokes. Dudes pretending to forget their IDs is the voting equivalent of men saying “I didn’t like it!” while the waitress clears their entirety empty plate from the table. You men just walk around ready to lay some jokes out there to the world at any given time, don’t ya?
The best part of poll working is hanging with the other poll workers. Last Tuesday I was in a room for 15 hours with several retired local elementary school teachers, most of whom were named Cathy and/or Kathy and who had been working the polls for many years.
I could write numerous columns about what all I learned from them, but for the sake of word-count I’ll just list off a few highlights — Tums, Epsom salts and sheetrock are good for your tomato soil. Someone in town makes incredible popcorn and the secret ingredient may be bacon grease, but she’s too old to ask. Cut up pieces of garlic sprinkled around the hen house keeps snakes off the eggs while vanilla-scented pine tree air fresheners keep away flies (I think this chicken must live in some sort of voo-doo castle.)
I also learned that lots of folks thought they were voting for sheriff last week. I’ll remind y’all: sheriff voting is November 8th.
I think everyone who likes to people-watch should work the polls at some point. Of course, my ultimate dream is be called to jury duty but I would say poll working is probably a close second.