The Election

Excerpt from “Politics IOU” 

Rith got most of her brilliant ideas in the early hours of the morning when she was lying in bed and this bright idea was her best in this election! As soon as it was light she called Ginger who was already up (just as she had expected).  After she had explained the idea, Ginger began laughing, in fact she laughed long and hard. Rith liked Ginger’s laugh.  It was so whole hearted.

abstract representation of the connectedness of volunteers

Volunteers Together 

Rith called Pearl and Jay at the Senior center. Listening to Rith explain the project,Pearl began jumping up and down in excitement. She asked Rith to hold on while she talked with Jay and Marjorie. Yes of course they would do it, they were all gung-ho, boy were they gung-ho!

The following day when Spider and Jamboree came down the mountain they quickly realized that something strange was afoot, for there was a big bus parked across the entrance. There was a hustle and a bustle and an excited babble as the volunteers scurried back and forth. A loading crew was lifting suitcases and hats and canes, senior scooters and electric wheel chairs into the bus.

“Do they think they are going somewhere?” asked Jamboree.

“Don’t worry, sweet Jamboree, Rith is paying,” sang out Pearl, seeing Spider’s face.. She was coming around the corner with a little dog under each arm. “Here you take them, “she said thrusting the dogs at Jamboree “They like you.”

“I can’t take them,” wailed Jamboree.

“You have to – I can’t take them where I am going?”

“And just where is that?” asked Spider.

“We are going to the Colony!”

Once she had got the volunteers in the big seventeen, bed-roomed campaign center, Rith talked Spider into coming out to lead the hospital volunteers. Before he came they were having the time of their lives but not all that effective. It was Spider who turned them into a hot-shot team.

He quickly discovered that the voters in the swing states had been bombarded with election messages and that most were blocking their calls.  This changed somewhat when the word began to get around that some cute little seniors were calling out.

If a volunteer failed to reach a voter this was the message Spider would have them leave: “Blessed are the children, for they shall inherit the national debt! Now how do you, you personally, Mrs. Pennicker, feel about your grandchildren?  You can’t do anything about it? Of course you can. You can call our friendly Senior Volunteers!” A number would be left for the Volunteer Call Center. Voters were charmed by the novel message and the phone began to ring.

Volunteer Calling

As always Spider was into creating games:

  • If a senior could stay on the phone talking an half an hour, he would reward the volunteer with a chocolate ice cream cone!
  • The volunteer who had reached the most people at the end of the day would be rewarded with a special volunteer pin.
  • The volunteer with the most pledges in the day would get to choose from a selection of kiddy-gifts on a table, and have Annalin (who was helping) send it out to a grandchild.

Jay just loved chocolate ice cream and he was their best “stay on the line” caller.

“Why am I calling you? “he would say, “I am calling because I have five grandchildren and they mean a lot to me. Do you have grand-kids? Seven, now ain’t that something?” He would then share family anecdotes and precious kid moments. He was so interested that he bonded with the voter. His four hairs would flop into his face as he warmed to his subject and as he moved into the home stretch he would ask, “Now Mrs. Bumble what do you think is the worse thing, I mean the very worst thing that we are leaving our grand-kids?” The voter would answer up.  “That’s right, that’s right, you are quite right, it is the national debt!”

The voter would lament on the bad, bad politics, and say that nothing could be done about it.

“Did you know that there is one candidate can fix the  and he also has the skill and knowledge to effectively reduce it?” Jay would ask. He would conclude by asking, “Can I have your pledge for Norman McCarthy?”

Another volunteer success!

Occasionally Pearl would beat him with the number of pledges, but not often.  On the other hand she would always win the prize for reaching the most people in a day. She was tireless, coming in early and leaving late. Most of teh other volunteers worked short shifts.

“I have called you three times, sweet Maryanne and you have not returned my call. I am really, really worried about your grandkids!”

“Thank you for calling back, Maryanne.”

“How old am I?  Oh I forget, I am not trying to be funny. Does this happen to you sometimes? The answer is in here somewhere, I just have to find it.”

Spider would crack up. He knew his sweet mother-in-law knew her exact age to the minute, but she had obviously reached a dodderer and had wanted to bond.”

“Why do I do this calling out? “

Comment from the voter.

“Yes it is very important to me, very important. I don’t like the state of the world.”

Long comment from the voter.

Sorry to interrupt you, “I have it now; yes I have remembered. Yeah,  I am all of 76 years old.”

Admiration from the voter.

“ Aren’t you also worried about your grand-kids?”

Answer from the voter.

“You are quite right, it’s out of control. You think nothing can be done about the national debt? Now there you are wrong.”  Plug for Norman McCarthy (following Spider’s script) and another voter was taking the pledge.

It was Rith’s biggest and most brilliant marketing move.

Quote for the Day

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation – Lois Wyse 

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