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A New, Old Way To Campaign

When you think of political campaigns, what comes to mind? A lot of T.V. and radio ads, maybe. Town hall meetings and debates. Public speeches where the candidate walks around afterwards shaking hands and admiring babies.

Oh, and let’s not forget those all-important mind manipulators: the lawn signs! Yes, many is the person who has voted for a political candidate based on a name being staked in red and white (or blue and white, or mauve and beige, or purple and pink polka dots) on their neighbor’s lawn.

But apparently, that’s not how they do it in southeastern Oklahoma. Actually, maybe it’s a rural South thing in general.

The other day, a pickup pulled into our driveway. Pretty far up. Farther up than even U.P.S. or FedEx dares to tread. And the truck was unfamiliar. Understand, even though the road we live next to is public, it’s gravel and leads to a dead-end at the top of the mountain. While we get an occasional four-wheeler joyriding through, most of the time when a vehicle goes by it’s one of four or five vehicles whose owner we know (or know of).

The majority of the time, however, the road is vacant.

So when this truck pulled up near our house, we knew a stranger had arrived.

J saw the truck first, and went out to see who it was. I looked out the window, perplexed. I was washing a dish or something, and when I finished I dried my hands and went out to see what the deal was. A couple of weeks ago a forestry dude stopped by to let us know he’d be parking on the perimeter of our land to check trees in the neighboring area. Once a guy from the electric company came to see if any trees under or near the power lines were getting out of hand.

So when somebody unfamiliar drives into our driveway, who knows who it might be? Could even be – get ready – Jehovah’s Witnesses!

However, as I opened the door I saw only one guy, so it wasn’t them. Or Mormons. He was dressed in quintessential rural South garb – cowboy hat, boots, jeans, even a longish mustache. He had handed J something and was just leaving as I came up.

He greeted me, calling me, “Ma’am”, which made me want to go dye my hair gray and get me a pair of rusty knitting needles.

A couple of seconds later, he was in his truck and backing out of the driveway.

“Who was that?” I asked my husband, who held a small piece of paper in his hand.

He handed me the paper. “Somebody running for county commissioner.”

Sure enough. It was a note-card sized campaign pieces that said, “Let’s Do This – John Doe for County Comissioner.” And he’d even driven all the way up to the top of the mountain to see the one guy who lives up there full time.

All righty, then. Kinda puts a new spin on the phrase “campaign trail”, don’t ya think?

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