by Pettus Read
Can you believe it has been four years since we had the opportunity to be involved in a presidential election and only two years since we made a decision on who goes to the legislature? I have been enjoying the absence of state primaries and grown men calling each other names. But, here we go again and I suggest you fasten your seatbelts, because it looks like a real bumpy ride.
It is time once again to decide if we are going to be donkeys or elephants. In fact, there may even be a few of us who are going to vote as a "donkeyphant" when we go to the polls. A donkeyphant is a cross between a donkey and an elephant. It's not very pretty, but it has a real mean kick and never forgets a candidate's promise.
Being from the farm, I have noticed how many candidates claim to be farm raised. Not as many seem to be coming into major offices with farming in their backgrounds, but many claim to have spent many hours on their granddaddy's place in the summer. You have heard them. They begin their speeches, when in farm country, telling about hard times as a youngster back on the farm.
To them, it was always winter, three o'clock in the morning, the depression, and they had to harvest every crop known to man. They all also had to walk hundreds of miles to school in blinding snow storms uphill both ways. I heard one the other day say he would walk four miles to school each day, except days when he was lucky enough to ride a stick horse.
It does help candidates to understand agriculture, but farmers do know when the candidate is getting beyond their field of real understanding.
One hot August day several years ago, one such candidate did that in my hometown. The country store located in the crossroads at Versailles, was a favorite gathering place for candidates to meet the farmers in the area on Saturday afternoons. They would shake hands, pass out cards, and visit with the folks shopping at the store. If a crowd gathered, they would even give a speech on the store porch.
On this particular August, Saturday afternoon, a crowd did gather to hear a candidate speak on why he should be elected their state senator. As he spoke in a loud and thunderous voice, a little boy moved to the front of the crowd to get a better look.
The senate candidate had spoken for several minutes giving his qualifications and continued to expound on his important ties to farming. Speaking to a group of people who made their living from plowing the soil, this candidate knew he had to prove he was one of them. As the crowd grew strangely silent the senator-wanna-be said, "I am so rooted in the agriculture community, that I even grew up between two rows of corn."
When the little boy, who had moved down front, heard his statement he immediately tugged at his mother's dress and said loud enough so everyone in the crowd could hear, "Mama, he must be a punkin!"
Just like the little boy, this year we need to keep our ears and eyes open for a few "punkins" out there.