"Put on your shoes, son... Hey, where is your jacket?
I lift up my arm and point to my red hooded sweater with a series of color stripes across the breast. It was an 80's version of a 70's flashback. No doubt it was fashion at it worst. The sweater was crammed between the seat cushions of our family couch in the TV room.
"Go and put that on. It's chilly out there and we are going on a short walk."
I quickly put on the sweater- first the left arm then the right. I had my "Toughskins" blue jeans on. They still looked brand new. No matter how rough I played in them they would never fade. Sears had made kid proof pants.
I tied my sneakers and rolled up my socks to cover my calves. I was ready to go and experience the world.
My elementary school mind was still in its most formative stages. I smiled a lot. I laughed all the time. I had wonder in my eyes.
These were the days when it was still o.k. to hold Daddy's hand. Heck, these were the days you could still call your Dad- Daddy.
We walk down the block and turned the corner. My hand was clinched tightly to my fathers' palm. We walk a few more steps and head down a back alley. A couple of houses down I notice an open garage door. People are mulling about. To one side is a single line, and in the back are cardboard boxes standing straight up with little curtains.
I looked around from left to right. I remember not understanding what this was all about. Why did my father purposely want me with him? Where are we?
My father leans down and says to me, "it's election day."
My love and reverence for voting was created on that day. I remember the look of the garage, the faces of the people, the smell of the cardboard and the sound of the hand crank puncher used to complete the paper ballots. I remember the look of pride on my fathers face and his frank (adult) discussion with me about how important this day is.
This morning I continued a tradition that was passed down from my father. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation, from American to American. It is a duty that the founding fathers envisioned as the peoples true equalizer. It is our voice.
So, this morning I drove down to the Costa Mesa Historical Society building and gave my name. I was handed a code pass and voted on one of those new-fangled machines. It was easy and efficient. My worries about the potential for lost votes was eased by the paper receipt produced by the computer.This morning I voted. I voted for my community. I voted for my state. I voted for my country. But, most of all, I voted for my Father.