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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Sunday, July 30, 2006  


These are photos of the courthouse in my hometown. The front and back are identical and so are the sides. It sits on a hill in the middle of the small town of just over 1100 citizens surrounded by a wide street called "the square." The post office where my mother was assistant postmaster for most of the 20+ years she worked there is down from the left corner in the picture on the right. The new courthouse is right across from the old one. That monument in the front is a Civil War memorial. Offices are housed there in what is known as the oldest courthouse in the state which this article elaborates on. Court is held in the new one, and most of the county officials work there.

A retaining wall surrounds the bottom of the hill and has iron rings along the top where horses used to be tied when people came to town. It was built in 1804, which is practically new by European standards, in the frontier town that missed being the capital of Tennessee by one vote. I have many memories of the courthouse. Election day was a big event when I was growing up because there would be tables with food for sale on the courthouse yard and people all around voting and staying for the results. We'd stay late into the night waiting to hear what happened. As a teenager, it was fun to visit with my friends and flirt with the boys. It was a festive atmosphere.

We had places on the square to hang out. My uncle's grocery store was where the new courthouse is now, and I loved that place. It was so much fun to be around him, his business partner, and the others who worked there. Mother started out working at the original post office until the new one was built. There are still some of the old buildings along the square, and people still say things like "where Bernadine's Grocery used to be" as well as other landmarks that have been torn down or changed to other businesses. My cousins own the Hickerson Hotel where they have a bistro-type restaurant with events on Friday nights.

The county jail used to be off the square near the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was used as a hospital during the Civil War. It's still there. This article relates some of the history of it as well as a photograph. The jail is in another location now. I guess some of the buildings need to be renovated or torn down, but change isn't all that welcome in Charlotte.

New Voting Machines

I worked at the election commission office Friday for early voting. That building is in horrible shape and has been there for ages. Another cousin is the commissioner, and she asked me to work during elections. We have new voting machines now and had to be trained on them. There was a steady flow of voters Friday, and we explained how to use the machines to every one of them. I was tired but not as tired as all of us will be Thursday. Friday was from 8-4. Election day we have to be at the polls around 6:15 and stay until voting is finished. The polls close at 7:00, but anyone in line at that time can vote, so I imagine we won't leave until at least 8:00 or later. It's taking longer to vote this time because of the new machines and longer ballot (about 8 screens). All those judges (2 or 3 screens of them) and local elections for county officials make it the longest it has been or will be again for eight years. The general election in November will be a breeze after this one.

I really like our new voting machines. There is a paper receipt that is produced at the end of the election as well as a memory card in each machine and the main one. The information is also on the hard drive. Numbers are recorded, the memory card is sealed, and other safeguards are in place to insure accuracy. I do wish each voter received a record of who they voted for and am not sure why this isn't happening. There's a bill in Congress for this (H. R. 550) which I hope passes. We got new voting machines all over the state mostly because of access for disabled voters. Each precinct has one machine which is for handicapped people. Others can use it, too, but it has headphones, Braille, and other accomodations for those who need them.

The guy from the voting machine company who trained us said that the reason for the problems in Florida was that those chads were supposed to be emptied much the way paper hole punches need to be. They hadn't been emptied, so the chads filled the boxes to the point that the votes couldn't be recorded properly. What incompetence! Good grief!

Voting has always been stressed in my family. Mother would ask, "Have you voted?" and "What number were you? How many voted?" as long as I've been voting. When I was so sick, Mother drove me to the poll to vote in the early voting. It's very important to her, and she was among the first there Friday when I helped with the voting. She's a remarkable woman, and I'm fortunate to have her for my mother.

I'll let you know how it goes Thursday. I'll be at the Board of Education building which is my place to vote and am taking lunch and snacks since it will be a long day!

2:17:00 PM

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