Memories of Dixville Notch

We take a break from our customary Toolbox Tuesday to note the special significance of this day.  Today we vote.  Actually, I voted early, as I expect most of you did. This is my 13th presidential election, and this one will break the tie in my personal win-loss column.  I have voted for the winner six times, and the loser six times.  What will happen tonight?

I vaguely remember the 1956 election, mostly because of Mom’s colorful nickname for President Eisenhower: “Old Bubblehead.”  She did not vote for Ike, but Dad did. Four years later my parents were united, as was my entire Irish Catholic neighborhood. That young fellow from Massachusetts was seeking to be the first president to share our religious and ancestral heritage.  I think there was a Nixon supporter or two in the neighborhood, but I’m not sure.  Sister Mary Holywater had to recruit some kid to play the part of Nixon in our 5th grade mock debate.  I got to be JFK and I lit into the other kid for being soft on Communism.  Nixon! Soft on Communism!!  Looking back into hazy memory I think I won that debate, but it wasn’t a fair fight. Sister Mary Holywater and all of the Kellys, Sullivans and O’Toole’s in my classroom were on my side.

What I most remember about November 8, 1960, was listening to the radio with Mom as we had breakfast.  There was a report from a tiny hamlet in New Hampshire named Dixville Notch, which had a tradition of opening the polls one minute after midnight so that they could be the first to report their results.  The man on the radio reported: Nixon 9—Kennedy 0. 

What?!?!?!  I looked to Mom in panic: “We’re behind!!”  She seemed undisturbed. “There are a lot more votes to be counted.”  Indeed there were.

Let us all be grateful for living in a country where we do get to choose our leaders.  Let us offer thanks to the poll workers, both paid and volunteer, who enable our elections to take place.  Let us all hope that we can come together as a  more united America after this most divisive election season.


Tomorrow: Paint the parking space