You know a lot of the things I love: feedsack fabric, Jadeite plates and Shiny Brite ornaments.
You may not know this: I love voting more than I love any of those. By a lot.
Voting makes me lightheaded. Happy. Almost giddy.
My great-grandmother, who was born before women had the right to vote, adored FDR. Without him, she believed, she would not have had a roof over her head. She worked as a Democratic poll watcher every year by way of thanks.
My father, a lifelong Republican, ran for a local office when I was young. He had a pretty slick get-out-the-vote operation. It consisted of driving from house to house every evening in our used Chevrolet, my brother and I in the back seat. He handed out business cards with his name and the words HONEST and RELIABLE. In his case, it happened to be true. He lost his first election, and I cried. He won every one after that.
My parents took us with them when they voted. They believed it was as important to vote for town supervisor and state representative as it was for president. Afterward, we went to the Civic League for the Election Day supper. We sat with neighbors and ate homemade soup and bread and cake.
Nobody had to say what a great country we lived in. Nobody had to say how great it was to be an American. We knew that, especially on Election Day. Those suppers felt more patriotic than Fourth of July fireworks, as celebratory as Thanksgiving.
I love a lot of the things I grew up with - farmhouses, gardens, livestock and pets; aprons, quilts and Pyrex bowls. I grew up in a family that valued voting, in a country where my vote counts, and I love that, too. And today's the day I celebrate that.