We’ve lost our “community”

The mere fact that I am a “truck driver” had me voting, early, today as I will be out of the area for November 3.  I have not missed an election since my eighteen(18) birthday.  I believe that voting is a “civic responsibility” and should be undertaking seriously at every election. There is never a point that any election is too small or insignificant: local only to national they all need input from the local citizen.

Let me set the scene.  My local early polling location has extended the available hours to 8am to 7pm for 10 days.  I decided to be early and arrive at 7am and sure glad I did as my place in line was one and a half city block from the entrance.  There I stood and after time to reflect on the day, say a prayer, and a rosary (as a devout practicing catholic this is important to me), I became engaged in conversation with the gentleman in line behind me.  We did not discuss politics in the sense of this election; however, we discuss today’s society.  As life deals you cards for your hand, play with the hand dealt.  This gentleman and I are of the similar age group and looking at us this would probably be the only shared commonality.

FATE you might say stepped in as he shared with me some of his “life story” and we now share the fact the we have both buried children: 451 days ago he lost his son and  he commented almost as ashamed of his recollection of the days (his friends think he should not be so attentive of the details).  I reassured him that “details are important to keeping the memory of a loved one alive, present, and active. You see I lost a son 2526 days ago and another son 2443 days ago, by the way that was almost seven(7) years ago. Not a day goes by that they are not part of my day.”  With this simple statement we have a bond.  He became interested in my thoughts of our society.

“People are good as a whole and a rule; there are bad and/or misguided, of course.”  I continued with, “we’ve lost our “community”.  Now do not be short sited with this.  Community is the area/neighborhood in which we live, true enough. However, it is more than that.  It is also a state of mind or even better stated: a GROUP of PEOPLE with SHARE or COMMON INTEREST: the conversation between him and I is the basis of community.  The overall “shared and/or common interest” is the best for people, neighbors, and country.  People disagree mostly on how to get there, but not on getting there.

I like to think of and explain politics more like a vehicle. The destination for most Americans is the same, in general: a safe, free country for chase and fulfill our dreams.  Politics, how to get there.  Allow your neighbor to be your friend, he probably drives a different vehicle than you: make, model, color.  Share with people and let us get back our “community”.  We can be friends with strangers.  Each of us has something to offer: kind words, words of encouragement, a smile of joy, a consoling smile, etc.  If we sell our neighbors short we are actually selling ourselves short: we’ve cheated ourselves as much as we have denied them.

As we near the door, I expressed my sincerity for a very engaging and enlightening conversation. We finally introduced ourselves and he is a candidate for the City Marshall’s position.  I believe that we shared, enlightened, and consoled each other    and we shall both be better for it. I am grateful for the people and experiences that found in my path. 

Finally, do not live life with regrets. Smile and/or greet a stranger. Assist a friend, neighbor, or friend-to-be. Make memories and happy thoughts.

By Hugh Pinckard

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