“Why Bother?” Oct. 27, 2020

If you are anything like me—and I certainly hope you are— you might like to spend a little time giving some thought to a few random questions that I have listed below.

I’ve also included my answers, as examples, but please feel free to come up with your own. I would love to read them.

For me, thought-provoking questions can act like painkillers whenever I’m facing some kind of discomfort like a root canal or a colonoscopy or having to plod through 65 pages of a voter guide trying to decide which candidates and ballot measures to vote for or against.

Bear in mind, these questions are merely distractions. They will not spare you from the actual discomfort. You’ll still need to do whatever you need to do. But they might give you something more pleasant to think about, if only for a while.

Question 1: What will your family and friends remember about you when you’re not around any more to remind them that nobody’s perfect?

Answer: I hope my family and friends will remember how much I adore them. How it always lights me up to see their faces or hear their voices or read their texts and emails. That no matter how worthless I might be about keeping in touch, they are always in my heart. I swear.

Question 2: When you reach a point on the road of life where there are more miles behind you than ahead, what are some of the memories you’ll look back on that will make you smile—or maybe laugh out loud?

Answer: Here are four of my favorite, happiest memories.

As a mother, I remember how close I felt to my children as they were growing up. Losing their dad to cancer brought us even closer. And now that they’re grown with children of their own—and have a much clearer understanding of what I went through in raising them—we are closer than ever before.

As a nana, I remember that my grandchildren are God’s gift to keep me alive and laughing at stories like this one: Last week, after I tweaked my back, I wrapped it in a thick padded brace that I disguised, I thought, under a loose fitting shirt. When my 5-year-old granddaughter, Eleanor, saw me, she gasped in horror. Then she threw her arms around me and whispered, “Don’t worry, Nana, you look fat, but you’re not.”

As a wife, I always smile remembering the day my former editor (and future husband) broke into a sweat and told me he’d been carrying a torch for me for a while and thought I ought to give him a chance.

And as a woman, and an American, I remember this: Born in 1894, my grandmother, like other American women, was denied the right to vote until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. From that year forward, she voted in every presidential election until she died in 1972.

On Election Day, I would watch her get all done up in her best dress, hat and gloves, and costume jewelry. Granddad would put on his preaching suit and a red, white and blue tie. Then they’d walk arm in arm into the courthouse to vote.

I wish you could’ve seen them.

Once, I heard a neighbor lady try to tell my grandmother why she hadn’t bothered to vote.

“I figure,” said the woman, “one vote don’t matter much.”

Grandmother replied, “Well, my vote matters plenty to me.”

I became eligible to vote for the first time six months after she died. I didn’t dress up, but I carried my 10-month-old son on my hip. When we stepped into the voting booth, I felt sure my grandmother was there with us.

Since then, I’ve voted in every presidential election including, Lord willing, this year’s. And I want to assure you that my vote always matters plenty, to me and my grandmother.

Final question: How much does your vote matter to you?

Comments

  1. Joy Dunne says:

    I have voted in every election , local e my mom walking with and national, since I came of age to do so. I remember my mom talking about Stevenson v Eisenhower in the 1950’s. Discussions about Kennedy v Nixon, & how detrimental for the country it would be if Nixon won. Said the same about him years later. My children vote, even when they have lived in Europe or New Zealand. In Washington state we’ve been voting by mail for years. There is no fraud, no problem. This year, with the Post Office General being a political hack, there are questions, but we have Ballot Boxes, too. Vote as if your life depends on it, because this time it does.

  2. Davey Myers says:

    Hi Sharon! Love this article (of course I love them all). My vote meant more to me this year than any other year of my life. We walked our ballots into Embassy Suites polling place and deposited them in the receptacle there. Then followed up with the Gov tracking site. Were informed the next day our ballots had been received and would be counted. We are praying for a return to togetherness and caring for each other rather than the division this country has endured in recent years. Please everyone VOTE!!!

  3. My vote matters to me. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Perfect in every way, Sharon. As always, thank you so much.

  5. Jody S. says:

    I always say that if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to bellyache about the politicians who are elected. I make sure to vote 🙂

  6. Kate Sciacca says:

    Great questions! And Eleanor is a riot! A couple of grandkids (Max, 8 and Abby, 7) were here to experience their first hunting trip with their dad, grandpa and pointer poodle, Violet. Up at 4:30am Saturday morning dressed in several layers of sweaters and coats, they enjoyed the donuts grandma had picked up from a “real donut shop” the night before. Off they went as grandma said prayers for their safety and fun… then went back to bed thinking of the stories they’d tell that night. Exhausted, they trudged in @ 5:30pm and had only two things to say. “We need a bath!!!” And “what’s for dinner…. oh, and did you bake cookies????” (Of course I did). No stories… they were out right after the final cookie…. grandkids are always surprising me 😂😂

    I’ve never missed a vote. Dad was a navigator on a B-17 in WW2 – FIL was Army Air Corps as well….Hubs Great grandfather was career military. We vote. All eight kids vote…. and one grandson will cast his first vote this week.

  7. Bob Steward says:

    My wife and I voted absentee ballot. As soon as they were signed and sealed, I took them to the drop off box. They mean a lot to both of us. A lot of rights could be lost. I think I must jump over a couple days to 9-22-2020. My wife went to the hospital on the 23 and I didn’t read the column until last week. When I read the column, I almost had wet pants over the red sea. It reminded me of an incident about 55 years ago at work. We had a man who was very touchy, and this man kept goosing him. One day he turned and told him, one of these days I’m going to shoot you for that. The word was passed and someone put this guy up to goosing him. He turned and said I told you I’d shoot you one of these days. Pulled out a pistol and six shots later the man was on his knees looking for blood. He said I felt every shot. There was not enough money in the world to get him to goose him again!!!

  8. Christine Timchek says:

    Ever since I have become a citizen, I have voted. Sadly, not once did I vote for a candidate, just against the worse evil. Soon I will be roo old to hold out hope. Once again, I voted against a tyrant and for someone I consider incapable.

  9. Barbara Ballard says:

    My parents taught me that not only was voting, but it was also a privilege, because in many countries the people have no choices except what they are told by whoever happens to be in power at that time. I was also taught that only idiots vote straight ticket. Like you, I was taught that what a candidate believes and does matters more than the party they belong to. You should vote for the person, not the party.

  10. Patti Peters says:

    Losing my husband when my kids were 14 and 17 was hard but my focus became their happiness and peaceful memories of Dad. I still after 24 years look at the things he made around the house and smile at how he loved making and building, and showing the kids how to do it. As for voting, I too have done so every year and will go in person this year. And I just spent 4 weeks with an old friend in Big Bear Lake, watching the fires. I so hope you are safe Sharon. And I won’t even begin about my only grandchild, who is 15 months old and the smile in my life!

  11. My vote means plenty to me too. And my rights from the Bill of Rights. And my country. I feel so fortunate to have been born here and to have grown up in this beautiful country where I can say what I think, even if a few others don’t want to hear it. And to worship without fear of being arrested or killed because I believe. And I can sing praises to God–regardless of whether my voice has changed and is not as strong as it once was. I am so very thankful to be able to cast my vote in one more election. May God give us wisdom to protect our freedoms for our children and grandchildren so they can rise up and call us blessed in the days to come.

  12. Katie says:

    I truly value to vote and live in a free nation. I always vote in every election. I have lived in Germany and know what transpired at the hands of Hitler. We are blessed by God in this country. Let us never take our freedoms for granted. VOTE & exercise your privilege to vote. EVERY vote counts!

  13. lrchh1 says:

    Husband and I did our mail in voting the day the ballots came in. As soon as they were completed, signed, and ready to be mailed. We took them to the post office that very afternoon. I have voted faithfully in every election as soon as I became of age. My spouse has since we’ve been married–almost 60 years. We have taught our children the importance of voting. We all don’t always agree on everything, I trust they vote. Love your column, so please keep us thinking. As always, Hope

    • Betty McNall says:

      We too voted by mail! We were married 59 years last wed. Do to Covid we asked for absentee ballots as my husbands health is such we stay home!

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