Snow and Politics Come to Town

Finally, it snows- on April 4th

I don’t usually discuss politics on this blog, but these are unusual circumstances. With no clear nominee for either party this late in the race, all of a sudden New York has become a high stakes battle ground. Candidates, who normally would bypass this area, are motivated to connect with upstate voters. On Monday, Hillary Clinton was the first one to visit.

Over the years, I have participated in peace demonstrations and marches for women’s rights, but never in a campaign rally. Excitedly, I contacted a friend who wanted to join me. Her 17-year old daughter also wanted to bring a friend. Both of them will be able to vote in the general election, so I thought this was a fantastic way for them to start their voting career.

The day of the rally was the only day we have received significant snow since January. By 3pm it was up to 5 inches. Thankfully they did not cancel the event, but it made driving messy and it was very challenging to find a parking spot. By the time we found one on a side street several blocks from the site, people were already walking away, shaking their heads that we would never be able to get in. Still, we were too excited to turn around. We found the end of the line that wrapped around the building into the parking lot and there we stood- in the snow and cold- hoping we would be lucky enough to get in.

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As the time passed, we chatted with fellow ralliers who said they hadn’t seen lines like this even for Black Friday. Every so often, a group would break away from the line in defeat, either out of frustration or frostbite. Occasionally a staff member would walk down the queue and every 10-20 feet make an announcement about the progress of the security check, when Hillary was expected, or promise that they were going to get everyone in.

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Even though I was bundled up in my long parka, it was freezing cold. I offered my hat to my friend, but the young women were frozen. I felt torn between wanting to see Hillary or get the kids back to the car to warm up. As we crept closer to the entrance, we saw the Secret Service drive behind the building and few moments later we could distinguish cheers from inside.

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My husband was home by the fire, following the news on tv and texting me updates on who the various speakers were- assuring me that it was not yet Hillary the crowd was cheering. We finally entered the building and, just before we walked through the metal detectors, the security official told us that Hillary was just starting so we wouldn’t miss much.

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We quickly entered the gym and, amazingly, found plenty of space to stand with a good view of the stage. We were within 50 feet and felt embraced by the energy of the crowd.

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Every time Hillary paused, a wild cheer and applause would erupt. The students in the bleachers would wave their pompoms and raise the letters that spelled her name.

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Hillary knew how to rally the crowd by continually connecting with people in every direction to show them that she cared. She seemed very warm and genuine and the crowd loved her. After it was over, I congratulated my friend’s daughter on her first rally at a much younger age than me or her mom. I hope the long wait in the cold will not discourage her from doing it again. But was it worth it? #HillYes!

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When we got back to my car, I discovered a parking ticket on my windshield. Apparently the empty spot I had found was blocking someone’s garageless, unmarked driveway, buried under the snow. Oh well, I will consider it part of my campaign contribution. Immediately after this event, all the other candidates announced stops in the area prior to the April 19th primary. It is very flattering, but I think I will pass. One is enough for this week.

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Recycling brings a sigh of relief

A some of you may know, April 22 is Earth Day, and many communities  plan events for environmental awareness. In my town, today was a big recycling project. People brought electronics, scrap metal, clothing, textiles, housewares,  books and paper documents to the park where their items would then be sorted and taken to a recycling facility.

This year, in addition to several years worth of old bills and stacks of paper we no longer needed to save, I was able to finally let go of something that brought a great sigh of relief…

A week ago, my youngest made his decision on where he is going to college this fall! It seems like this process of searching colleges, visiting campuses, writing applications and the waiting…. oh the agonizing waiting for responses… has been going on forever. In actuality, it started just 6 years ago- which kind of is forever in a parent’s mind. My eldest spent hours reading about schools and sending away for brochures. She also worked hard at her preparation for college and took SATs and ACTs multiple times. There was a stack of practice test books on the shelf — more than a foot wide. Then there were the AP exam books- World History, Biology, Calculus- and the SAT II Subject practice tests- Math II and English. Again, all of these added up to at least another foot of space on the shelf.     IMG_3179

 

 

Lastly, there were the books ranking colleges, advising how to write a college essay and hundreds of pamphlets, brochures and other promotional material that both of my children had accumulated either in the mail or during campus visits. I probably should have taken a photo of the massive amount of paper these items took up, but, truthfully, I was so eager and ready to get rid of it. I never considered I would want to see it again. These collective items only symbolized the ongoing process of getting ready for college and the enormous amounts of stress that were heaped upon all members of the family.

Anyway, my husband and I loaded up our car and drove to the park this afternoon. The man who directed us to the paper recycling location was a friend. When I told him what we were bringing, he agreed that we must be very relieved to have this process -of prepping our kids for college and actually getting them both into a school of their choice- behind us.

As I carried the huge armload of practice test books to the table, a volunteer followed me with the heavy bag of brochures. I placed the pile on the table for the other students to deal with and watched as the one carrying the bag dumped its contents into the giant recycling dumpster. I breathed a sigh of relief as I walked back to my car. I looked at my husband and smiled, “Isn’t it great to have this behind us!” He smiled as we drove away. “Happy Earth Day!”