Election Results

I was not yet seven years old but the memory is still keen sixty-two years later.

We lived in western Kentucky in a two-story brick house built before the Civil War. The only indoor plumbing we had was cold water at the kitchen sink, no indoor bathrooms, no TV. It was warm in winter as long as you were near a fireplace. It was hot in the summer no matter where you were.

It was three miles of gravel road to the nearest highway, six miles to the nearest town. We had one neighbor who lived less than a mile away.

For some reason, even though I was the youngest of five kids, I was the only one not already upstairs in bed for the night. Dad was sitting by himself, right beside the radio, head bowed, expression grim. He was listening to election results in November of 1960 and did not like what he was hearing.

The emerging pattern of the more populous states indicated that the rich, privileged, Yankee, Catholic, Democrat was going to be next president of the United States. Dad and many others like him across the South were sure that it signaled the end of all that was precious and sacred.

Finally, when he’d lost any hope that Richard M. Nixon would win the election, he angrily switched the radio off, stood up, and headed to bed.

I don’t know if he got any sleep or not, but we all rolled out of bed the next morning. The cows got milked, the hogs and calves got fed, the sun came up. The kids went to school and the grown-ups went to work.

And life went on.

And, fifteen presidential elections later, it still does. Sometimes I’ve celebrated, sometimes I’ve cursed, sometimes I didn’t really care much one way or another.

The perceptible quality of my life has usually, if not always, depended more on who my neighbors are rather than who happens to be occupying the White House. For the most part, I’d reckon that the way I represent my religion affects the people around me more than who represents them in Congress. My citizenship in the kingdom of heaven has always mattered more than what country I happen to live in.

The old hymn reminds me, “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.” As long as I keep my focus on the only place where the things that really matter cannot be rusted, cankered, or stolen, I’ll be okay. Jesus warned us, “Do not love the world, nor the things of the world.”

Making one’s calling and election sure will always matter more than who gets elected.

H. Arnett

11/10/2022

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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