Monday, April 3, 2006

Fast Forward

I have neglected this blog for a while because life seems to have been on fast forward lately, this last week in particular. First, we held an Open House to show off our new offices in Memorial Hall. It will be much more convenient for all of us to be in the Courthouse complex since we have to visit the Courts and the Clerk's office so often. Now, we just skip down the hall to file paperwork rather than getting in the car to drive up the hill from downtown. So, I'm glad of the move for that reason. Plus, the firm that did the remodeling did a great job and the new offices are spacious and bright while still maintaining the qualities that give them their antique character. Mostly, I'm happy that this unique old building is still a useful, productive part of our community. It broke my heart when we had to tear down the old high school. I understood the reasons. I worked for the City when it became vacant and I know the Mayor and Council truly did try to find ways to save it but it was such a huge old white elephant which would have been horrendously expensive to restore and maintain that none of the possibilities were feasible. I feel the same way about the old jail. I wish there was a way to turn it into a museum so people could see what it was like back in the day of no more than a dozen prisoners, when the sheriff lived upstairs and his wife cooked the meals and deputies were also jail officers and dispatchers.... but I expect it is too far gone and trying to save it would not make economic sense.

Another large chunk of last two weeks was given over to politics, Sheriff politics, in particular. Mike had a tendeloin dinner in Wabash and a chili supper in Somerset. Thank heavens, it was the last of the chili suppers. By this point in any campaign I've ever been involved in, I'm sick to death of chili. It isn't one of my favorite meals in any case (sorry, Bill Gerding!) but by the time I've dished it up for a thousand people, I really, really don't want to see it or smell it or taste it again - at least for a few months. You can understand why chili is a so often chosen for campaign fund-raisers though. It is relatively cheap to prepare so that if you estimate wrong and are left with a vat of chili at the end of the evening, you most likely haven't gone in the hole. Tenderloins are everyone's favorite but you have rather a larger investment in tenderloins. We also started putting out Mike's signs this weekend. There has always been disagreement about political signs. Some people hate them and say they aren't necessary but others believe you must have signs. I love signs myself and look forward to seeing how many there are and who is supporting which candidate. To me, signs are symbols of democracy in action with voters wearing their hearts on their sleeves for their choice. I think, in general, most of us are not political enough. We don't pay enough attention to who is running our government and whether or not we agree with what they are doing in our names and with our money, so to me signs represent voters who are involved in democracy and that's a good thing.

The last thing that happened this week was the death of my friend, Brenda's granddaughter, Tiffany. What a terribly sad event that was. Her father, Brenda's only child, died less than three years ago. And, now Brenda also has to face the loss of her only grandchild, a little girl Brenda never referred to without the word "my" in front of her name. How many times over the last 20 years have I heard the words: "my Tiffany". I have been to many funerals, some for people I loved dearly, like Dallas. But with Dallas, there was at least the knowledge that although we would have preferred he lived to be 100, his was a life complete. He had a long marriage and with Barb, lived to see his children raised and his grandchildren well on their way. His time on this earth was filled with achievements and awards....Air Force Officer, Fire Chief, Mayor, Major, Sagamore of the Wabash. At his funeral, I felt a terrible sense of sadness and loss but not of tragedy.

By contrast, there is such a feeling of wrongness seeing a beautiful little 20-year-old lying in a casket. It is a bereft young husband, an 11-day-old baby who will grow up without a mother. It is friends with tears running down their cheeks. The youth of today seem, over all, so much more sophisticated and worldly than my generation at the same age but in this setting, they were as lost and shocked as any kids of any era. It is grandmothers and grandfathers and great-grandmothers stunned because it isn't supposed to happen that the children die before their elders, although of course, it does. Tiffany did not have an ideal childhood. In semi-adulthood, she did not always make the wisest choices (though many of us looking back from our present perspective might remember that we did not always make the wisest choices when we were her age either). The girl I knew was sweet and generous-hearted and loving. I guess if people say the same thing about me when I die that is about as satisfying an epitaph as I could hope for.