Pumplin Spice and Polling Sites: Fall Is in the Air
By Dorothy Wilson ‘The Marion Mom’
Y’all, it’s almost pumpkin spice latte season again!
My heart is singing.
Except for these stupid 20 pounds I keep trying to lose. I like to tell people I’ve lost 50 pounds this year… the same stinking five pounds over and over.
So, there’s a little bit of a problem there when it comes to getting my “PSL” fix… skim milk. No whipped cream? I might as well be drinking pumpkin broth.
Very expensive pumpkin broth. This is the very definition of disappointment.
Unless you count having your new phone stolen before you even receive it.
Because my current phone freezes with each incoming call (you know, the “phone” part of “smartphone”), I ordered another one online.
With the fall season also comes the iPhone upgrade reveal, for those who need mo’ bigga’ (which I do.) I ordered the super-biggest- goldest iAwesome available. Then I ordered a super-biggest life-proof case, because my life plus an $800 piece of glass do not play well together.
Then, I waited.
Because that’s what you do for iAwesome.
Turns out, FedEx swears they delivered it, when clearly, they did not. And although I get a refund, I am no longer allowed to order online, and I must drag my herd into the local brick-and-mortar store to order a phone.
It will not be pretty.
So after a fruitless family- wide hour-long search last night for the missing package, my son excited me when he ran into the kitchen this morning, grinning widely. “Mom!” he yelled. “Come out to the front porch and see what I found!”
I jumped out of my chair and bounded to the rarely- used entrance, fully expecting the phone package to be waiting for me in all its glory.
But no. It was a dead bird. I think I have a thing or two to teach that kid about women’s expectations and timing before he ties the knot.
Also borderline crushing this year: Election season. Our esteemed nation couldn’t come up with a better choice than a fool and a falsifier last time.
Let’s see what this time around brings us.
“Voting is your privilege, your honor, your obligation!” I tell my kids.
Then they want to vote on whether they can have dessert instead of dinner.
“Sure,” I respond. “The state of ‘Kids’ can have one vote, and the state of ‘Mom’ gets a vote, and the state of ‘Dad’ gets a vote.
Welcome to the electoral college, children!”
Six kids each vote yes to dessert for dinner, yet it equals just one vote toward the democratic process. If Mom and Dad each vote no, the overall vote will be 1 yes and 2 no.
I say “if” because chances are good that the state of Mom will vote for dessert.
If you harbor even a smidge apathy toward casting your vote come next November, you better have a darned good reason. In 2012, when President Obama was running against John McCain, I had five children under age six, including a set of infant twins.
I didn’t have sense enough to cast an early vote. (I don’t recall why. In fact, I don’t recall much at all from those dazed days.) I didn’t have sense enough to get a baby-sitter. (Actually, I couldn’t afford a baby-sitter, and no one was lining up to volunteer. In fact, I waited until the twins were four months old before leaving my own husband alone with all five children. He called me within an hour begging me to come home.) So I dragged all five children to the voting site, which was a small room in a church somewhere in Cordova.
The line snaked around the room like a patriotic ribbon. They had divided the room into buttonhole switchbacks for maximum capacity.
The problem is, my super- hefty, massively-long, in-line double stroller couldn’t switch back.
Plus, the lengthy wait proved too much for my walking children. They were very skilled at running beneath the patrons’ legs, leaving me stuck like a dump truck between the massive-mobile and the straight-line barriers, not to mention the crowd, impatiently teetering on unruliness, eager to boot me to the back of the line should I, by some chimerical gymnastic feat, attempt to run down my charges.
The kids eventually landed on a pew where a very kind election volunteer kept an eye on them.
Meanwhile, I pushed that baby stroller about an inch a minute. Every time we came to a switchback, I performed a spectacular 16-point turn. I felt like Austin Powers in a go-cart.
Voting was the only thing on my to-do list that day, besides, of course, keeping the chil- dren alive, fed, and out of the hospital.
I beamed with pride when my husband joined us for dinner and exuberantly related the whole story.
Then, as the polls closed, I realized I’d been bamboozled.
“Your vote matters!” but probably not as much as you hoped, thanks to the electoral college.
My candidate won by a freaking landslide in Tennessee (which sort of reflects how I felt after wrangling the hooligans and their stretch limo carriage in a small room filled with fussy adults for hours.) This means my vote actually didn’t matter. At all.
Because I didn’t vote in a swing state.
To be honest, I doubt my presidential vote will count for much in Arkansas next year, either. But I know my vote will certainly count in the local elections, and probably in the state elections, too. So I will proudly ding the little machine for all the candidates and issues, especially if dessert is on the ballot.
This time, I’ll leave the Wilson Wagon home — but not the pumpkin spice latte. With whip, in case you were wondering.
After all, I’ve already lost 50 pounds.
Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures their seven children provide. Her column appears monthly in the Marion Ledger. Reprints, like this one from October 2017, appear in the online edition of the Times.