Prologue Part 3: Taking a Stand

My family and I finished our walking project on August 1st. I’m not saying the rest of the month was uniformly awesome. (Surprise root canals? Hard pass.) But overall the summer stays in memory as a season in the bubble, the eye of a swirling COVID storm. There were some months when my town had only a handful of cases, and we felt safe. My sister was even able to bring her family over from London for a splendid sojourn. But eventually the season shifted, COVID returned, and I became stalked by an even more terrifying specter: the possibility that Trump might be re-elected.

Yes, Trump is even scarier than Stephen King’s house on Halloween. Actually, Stephen King’s house on Halloween was lovely.

I’m not here to discuss Don. But it is a fact that his downplaying of the virus, constant lies, and politicizing of the most basic public health measures (just wear a F’ing mask!) lead to the loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives. Had he been re-elected, our democracy might also have died. So as October came to a close, and I realized that my kids had Election Day off from school (which they were already doing remotely), I decided that we needed to hear north to Maine, the nearest swing state, and do our part. During the day, we canvassed for Biden/Harris and Maine’s Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon.

Here’s my older daughter listening to Gideon speak. It’s fair to say we all felt inspired.

And at night, we stayed in a friend’s log cabin just around the corner from the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, a place so picturesque it’s on Maine’s state quarter. The view was spectacular, and the history poignant. My dear friend Andy’s grandfather, Major General Clift Andrus, witnessed Pearl Harbor firsthand and eventually served as commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry (the famous “Big Red One”) during the Battle of the Bulge. After the War, he and his wife bought this Lincoln-style log cabin in Lincoln County, Maine, which now belongs to Andy.

This is the view from my friend’s porch. Wanna rent it? It’s on Airbnb. Contact me for the deets!

And there we were, defending our democracy. It all felt very patriotic. And cold. Good God it was cold! The night we arrived, we tried to plug in all three space heaters and promptly blew a fuse. Ooops. We got that fixed, but from that point on pretty much subsisted on hot cocoa and warm thoughts. It snowed, it galed, and we shivered. In fact, I had to spoon my iPad to keep it from shutting down. When I asked my younger daughter if she remembered the last time she was this cold, she paused and said, “Ummm. . .yesterday?”

I’m not sure this is what our school district had in mind when they offered “remote” education.

We also had time for some fun local activities — eating the season’s last lobster roll, buying books at a nearby cooperative to help fund art education in the local schools, and enjoying Cathie Peterson’s dazzling “Woolscapes.” (Check out Cathie’s work at the link below — we bought one, and you should too!) There was something very satisfying about being literally the season’s last customers as coastal Maine slipped into hibernation. And as the sun set on Election Day, we headed home, confident in victory, and proud to have done our part.

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