The Marks Post: Swish responsibly
Americans went to the polls Tuesday, and I had a first hand view of this part of the democratic process as I was once again working as an election commissioner at the Lincoln Road Fire Station.
Since it was a federal election, the polls here in Louisiana opened at 6:00 a.m. That meant commissioners had to be at the polls for 5:30 a.m. Because of that, I was in bed Monday for 8:30 p.m. I went to bed after watching Little Caesar with Edward G. Robinson on TCM.
Tuesday morning, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. That was the earliest I woke up since being a cook on Passe Partout.
I went through my normal morning routine and stopped by the Shell Station by my house at the corner of Tate Cove and LaSalle to buy a loaf of bread, some lunch meat, some condiments, and potato chips. I got to the fire station at about 5:00 a.m. and started setting everything up before the other commissioners got there. Once everybody got there, we finished setting up before the polls opened.
There are three precincts in the fire station which means there are about 12 people working for an election. Every commissioner has a certain role. Mine is activating the machines each time a voter enters. That means I have to stand up most of the day depending on how many voters there are at one time.
When I was not activating the machines, I would stand or sit around and visit with other commissioners. Most of us have been working together for a couple years, so we know each other pretty well. Those who have not been working with us as often fit in the group well and feed off our conversations.
Through these conversations Tuesday, we learned some important information such as to swish responsibly when using Listerine.
Even though I brought the things to make sandwiches, I did not eat any of it because I snacked all morning on everything else that people brought to eat. I compare working an election at the Lincoln Road Fire Station to a pot luck dinner.
When it came time for lunch, a couple other commissioners and myself ordered food from Tate Cove Seafood. I convinced my dad to pick it up and bring it to us on his way to work.
I ordered a catfish burger with a side of fried pickles. That was a big mistake. After I ate, lethargy started setting in. It got worse around 3:30 p.m. which was 12 hours after I woke that morning. And, we still had four-and-a-half hours to go until the polls closed at 8:00 p.m.
Over the course of the afternoon, I tried to get blood flowing to my legs being that I stood most of the time. Every now and then, I would do some leg bends and lunges and whatever else I could think of because my legs were hurting and my feet were swollen.
I made it through the rest of the day, and it only took us about a half hour to close the machines and wrap everything up after the polls closed.
But, my day still was not finished. I rushed to The Gazette to drop off my sandwich items in the ice box and to pick up a camera on my way to my old stomping grounds of the Evangeline Clerk of Court Office for election night coverage.
I visited with my old co-workers while waiting for the election returns to come in. I also reminisced with Mark Layne from KVPI about election nights from years gone bye. Bad thing was that I was on my feet for most of the time.
The final numbers came in around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, and, by the time things wrapped up there, I did not get home until around 10:30. I stayed up to eat some pizza I brought home from the clerk’s office and then tried to go to bed.
I tossed and turned in bed for a while because my legs were still hurting, and my feet were still swollen. The pain was so bad that I had to wake up and take some Aleve. I managed to drift off to sleep before waking up at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.
I woke up that early because Wednesday is my morning to serve as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion for 6:30 a.m. mass at Sacred Heart. I get to church at 6:00 a.m. to get everything ready for mass.
Deacon Scott Peyton was there at mass Wednesday which meant I got to sit out from giving communion, but I still had to prepare everything before mass.
After I got everything prepared, I went into the front pew of church and managed to kneel through the rest of The Rosary. My legs were still hurting, and my feet were still swollen.
Mass went on, and it got time for Communion. I was the first to receive Communion since I was sitting in the front pew. As soon as I received Communion, my leg pain went away and my feet were not swollen anymore (or they did not feel swollen). I received a jolt of energy, and my little antenna propped up. My battery was recharged from a long day before.
Not that I needed it to, but this reaffirmed to me the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I know there are people out there who doubt or disbelieve, but Jesus tells us so clearly in the Bread of Life Discourse found in John Chapter 6. In there, He says, “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The biggest takeaway from my experience Wednesday is the healing power of Christ. At times, we all feel lethargic. Our legs all hurt, and our feet are all swollen. During these times, we should always remember what Jesus tells us in Matthew... “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”