Early November, pre-election time. Some years I’m poised at the edge, days fraught with worry or full of hope. Other years I passed the time with lighthearted endeavors. I don’t actually remember – it’s what I posted on Facebook, and why I like the Memories tab.
In 2009 I was in Denver while Alan attended a conference. The weather was nicer in Denver than in Santa Barbara. I loved their free and frequent electric shuttle along the main drag and drank lots of Peets coffee. Times were simple. Obama was in the White House. I was checked out.
Similarly, in 2010, I passed the day at the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art, working on a new hobby.
In 2011 I still wasn’t concerned. We’d just returned from three weeks in Spain, and I posted photos of one of the highlights, a guided hike around the “white village” area outside of Ronda. We hiked in Grazalema Natural Park for six hours (I was so much younger then) and in and around Montejaque among magical mountains of limestone and quartz, saw several bird species we’d never seen before, and ibex perched high above on sheer rocky cliffs. We walked into the mouth of an enormous cave, and ended with tapas and cervezas at a local bar, as one does. We were supposed to go back to Spain in 2020, but, you know.
In 2012 it was an unreal 90 degrees. I stopped at Goleta beach for just a few seconds but couldn’t tear myself away because of a heron watching me watching him. A Philadelphia friend said there were people without power, heading into lows of 28.
That day was an election to live in infamy, my first, and I posted many times during the day and night:
-I thought today would never come.
-Nate Silver is right, right?
-I think tea is my beverage of choice tonight, fighting an explosion of nerves. Keep calm and carry on.
-Whoa, need to slow down. Got my desktop, ipad and phone all working overtime as I check the news sites, facebook, gchatting and facetiming with my Portland family and Alan in Denver, trying to figure out how to video chat on the desktop, joining Google plus… Up since 4 am, had a kettlebell workout mid-day. I’m pumped! Elizabeth Warren! Pennsylvania! Maybe I’ll mellow out with Jon Stewart.
In 2013 I was still in Santa Barbara, and my son-in-law sent me a quote from my 2 year old granddaughter, referencing a finger game I’d played with her recently. “That’s not hoppideedee, that’s a finger.” I was sad she’d already outgrown our game, but my daughter said she proceeded to call all her fingers hoppideedee. God I missed her, but plans were in the works. Sort of. Vaguely.
That day I stopped at a sunny bench in the Santa Barbara cemetery, with an ocean breeze and sounds of a fountain. “Did you know this is a peaceful place to hang out?” I asked. Yes! everyone said, but comments were split between youthful hijinks and peaceful strolls.
My childhood neighbor recalled memories of our walking through as a shortcut to junior high. I reminded her that that’s where I learned to smoke cigarettes from her.
Others chimed in about feeling transported, gorgeous views, peaceful vibes, but one friend said that in the early 60’s in Alabama, the cemetery was a race track where friends used to do laps “and the residents didn’t seem to mind.” My son said “It’s not the same without a 40 oz beer though…” which gave me another window into his teenage life. Someone else said he knows there are some other folks who are just dying to go there. Ouch.
In 2014 I posted a photo of a key, because we’d just closed escrow on our Portland house. I was missing Alan, still living in Santa Barbara, and woke up at 2am thinking about Marmoleum colors.
In 2015 I was doing NaNoWriMo just as I am this month; 50,000 words in one month. I bragged, “Ten thousand words! Will give you such a crick in the neck…” and my son caught the Aladdin film reference. “Itty bitty living space.” A more Zen friend said he thought this was my count of spoken words, the goal being as few as possible. In some ways he was correct – the less I speak, the more I can write.
Then in 2016 as you might recall, elections got real. “So, what are we doing Tuesday night?” I asked. A mix of responses: Is there anything on TV? Rehearsing. Painkillers anyone??? Meth. Something or other. The dishes. I was thinking of buying a few cases of canned soup. A happy dance that’s what. Wine. Weeping, maybe?
I asked what song we’d play Tuesday night when Hilary won, and folks were as optimistic and taken in by the polls as I was. Jump for Joy, Maneater, Walk Together Brothers, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, What a Feeling, Nasty Woman, This Train Bound For Glory. I don’t need to tell you how it ended.
In 2017 I got back to nature, enjoying the Fall midpoint, some bare trees and others just turning. It never got up to 50 and I put on my hoodie and checked out the ‘hood, raked and trimmed, and then it got dark, because daylight savings bullshit.
In 2018 I was grateful for dry fall days, long walks, family visits, meals from the garden, and momentary respite from political angst. “How are you feeling?” I asked my online friends. Chastened, exhausted, sad, hopeful, empowered, and raring to go. America.
I asked for more songs. One friend had Elvis Costello in her head: “Well I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused…” Another suggested the Who’s “We Won’t Get Fooled Again. The hits kept coming, Wicked Man, Help, Long Time Gone, and a Scott Cooper great – Today’s the Day I Started Drinking Again, for drinking in 12 bars, so irresistible. One person’s angry side heard Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails, and their hopeful side heard The Times They Are aChangin’. An old soul thought Woody Guthrie’s All You Fascists Bound To Lose was appropriate, or Joan Baez’ Bread and Roses. Great lyrics. Broadway fans liked Found/Tonight and Do You Hear The People Sing. And from a snarky friend, These Boots are Made for Walking. But the one that made me laugh was Oh Canada.
In 2020 I asked again for songs. Friends came up with Georgia on My Mind, Midnight Train to Georgia, A Rainy Night in Georgia, Oh Atlanta. Hamilton’s Wait for It, One Day More from Les Miserables. A friend said she kept singing the Star Spangled banner as she voted, reminded of her mother’s ancestors that fought for American independence. An optimist suggested Jump for Joy. Rock on.
Now it’s 2022 and I want the robocalls and emails to stop. I can’t abandon hope, but I’m as cautious as an often-spurned lover, keeping expectations tamped down. I look forward to unfettered hope at some future date, but I’ll leave you with Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. I suppose that’s guaranteed.
Please vote, please vote, how many times do we have to say it, please vote.
8 thoughts on “On This Day”
Oh Nance. Such longing in my heart for what used to be, on so many levels. It seems only the blues will do this year. No point in staying up late on Tuesday, unless you want to see the solar eclipse before dawn. Write your heart out dear one. I’ll try to join groups when I’m able. Xo
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The solar eclipse might be just the ticket, thanks for letting me know! I’ll be at the coast, cold and maybe even clear for a minute or two. I look forward to seeing and hearing you again. Thanks for being here.
I’ve been sitting here trying to think of the song that best describes how I’m feeling about the current state of things. The only thing I keep circling back to is: “Say Something” (A Great Big World). But that’s too sad. How about some Debby Boone: “You Light Up My Life”?
The world is full of disappointment for sure, but I’m grateful to still believe that anything is possible and I just might be doing a happy dance on the beach Wednesday morning! I love that you wrote about this. Yes, VOTE!
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I would love to be dancing with you! Let’s hope and be grateful! Thanks Bonnie Rae.
I’m amazed at your ability to recall these Novembers with such clarity. I remember the despair I felt when Reagan was elected (“how could anyone think he was fit to be President?”) not knowing, of course, how very much worse it would get. And I loved Ronda too!
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My Facebook notes are what jogged my memory. And photos. But it is funny once you remember one thing other things rise up. Do we remember despair better than a place we visited, or a meal we ate?
I love the song challenge. “Oh, Canada” might be my favorite for 2016. I wish I could add a photo here of that day from my collection.
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Yes, thank goodness we didn’t have to march north singing. Thanks for the pics – delightful! Thanks as always, for reading.