The last good day I had with my dad was voting day 2012.
He loved voting. Loved politics. Loved talking big ideas.
I still have the Ford/Dole pin that he proudly wore to the polls that day.
“You can’t wear that inside, Sir.”
“Oh, yes I can. You see it’s a bit outdated.”
He wasn’t walking so well but I guess he had timed his medications that morning so that he would have maximum energy to get out of the house and to the local school. I remember buckling and unbuckling him in the car, pulling him out of it when we got there. I remember him putting both his hands on my shoulders, as he often did, and using me as a more size-appropriate walker.
I stopped to take a picture outside with the “Vote Aqui” sign.
Then we went inside. My dad, clearly the gentlest giant in the land, always attracted attention. Every little old lady in the gymnatorium wanted to help direct us.
“My daughter will take my ballot. To the booths!”
I filled out both of our ballots the same.
“Just straight down Democratic.”
And then I walked us to the machine that scans the paper ballot, collected our stickers and we went home.
He had a heart attack two weeks later.
I know I saw him in those two weeks. I must have, I was living with him. But I don’t have any memories of it. I was running off to work, sleeping over with friends, living my own life which he never seemed to begrudge me.
He died the day before Thanksgiving that year and my aunt and uncle came as soon as they heard.
“Well I guess dinner tomorrow is off.”
“Why on earth would we cancel Thanksgiving? That won’t help anything.”
It was a weird thanksgiving but aren’t all family holidays? I expected all following Thanksgivings to be hard but the next one snuck up on me. And the next, and the next. Much the same way that you’re always surprised at the answer you have to give when people ask how old your little siblings are now.
But voting for president, that’s something I never envisioned doing without talking to my dad about it.
So, Happy Quadrennial-iversary, Dad. I know that somewhere you’re really amused by all of this. Just write down all the jokes you’re coming up with, I’ll read them later.