Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
Two days and it’s all over. Another political season will have come and gone. And not a day too soon for me, and I’m sure, not a day too soon for you too. Indiana airways have been somewhat blessed by not being overwhelmed with the political carp of “Let’s kill the other guy”, but that’s not the case in some of the states. For those people, I feel sorry. However you may think about the election, Come Tuesday, if ya don’t vote, then don’t bitch ‘bout the outcome. I’m glad the long campaign is over. But I’ll for sure to vote just in case I need to ……..
As I promised many of you some time back that I’d retell the story about the time I ran for the President of the Student Body at the Tip Top Elementary School. That time has now come. This story was first told on November 2, 2008. Just days before Obama was elected President of these United States. It was Hope and Change that got him there:
Sure hope everyone is ready to vote. I’m almost. One way or the other we will give ourselves a new president. I remember the time I ran for president. It was the third grade, Tip Top Elementary School System, Tip Top, KY. Tip Top was a company town way up in the mountains of southeastern KY. Springtime was in the mountains and the Red Buds were in bloom. Such pretty hills up there at Tip Top, at the top of the mountains.
The educational facilities at Tip Top in 1953 were somewhat more sparse than what we are accustom to seeing now days in public education. The Federal Government was not involved in the local decision making process of education. It was a two room building, grades 1 – 7 in the larger room, grade 8 in the other room. A single source heating system, pot belly stoves, they were. Two rooms, two stoves. Air Conditioning System, windows that sled up and down, if the wind blew your way, got cooled off ya did, if it didn’t, ya didn’t. Plumbing was outside, both sanitation and water(outhouse and well). Federal Financial Assistance was $00.00. It was Company Town, Company School, Company Funded. It was the springtime in the mountains, right near the end of the current school year, and Magoffin County was awash in a hotly contested primary election, it was from that background that I stepped into the political arena.
The teacher, Miss Higgins, thought it a good idea to get us little Kentucky Kids become involved in politics early, after all, our parents were shooting each other left and right over political differences and both sides were buying votes at every possible opportunity. She explained that it would prepare us to take our places in society in the future if we understood how politics really worked. Miss Higgins said she would select two candidates and they would campaign for the votes of the students and after the campaigning was all done we would vote. Then there would be a president of the student body for next school year.
Now when the teacher said she would select the candidates, we all knew she would select Tucker Bailey, cause Tucker Bailey was the teacher’s pet. When ya go to a school with two rooms and a total enrollment of 22 students and 1 teacher, it don’t ya take long to figure out who’s the teacher’s pet. Later in life I could never quite figure out the fact that Tucker Bailey’s Dad owned the coal mine and the whole town plus he hired Miss Higgins, if that had anything with Tucker Bailey getting to be the teacher’s pet, or she if just liked him better than me. I could never figure it out for sure.
Miss Higgins said we needed candidates who could be president of the student body the next school year, a person with leadership qualities, a person who we all could admire, (at the time I didn’t know what that admire word even meant) a person who could get all us students working for the common good of the Tip Top Community.
The teacher pointed out that the newly elected president would not take office until next school year so that meant the current eight graders could not qualify for office, but they would get to vote. Just like everybody in that school house knew she would, Miss Higgins said “My first candidate from the fifth grade is Tucker Bailey”. We were all about as surprised as when the sun came over the mountain that morning. It was Miss Higgins’s next statement that changed my life forever when she said “and running against Tucker is from the third grade Bobby Ray Howard”.
Well I damn near fell off my seat, twice. Having no political experience and a great deal of resentment for Tucker Bailey, he had the nicest house in Tip Top, his yard had grass, his house was painted, he had shoes year round, he wore church paints to school, he didn’t have to carry water, he had his own dog, while I had to share my dog with seven cousins, and the list went on and on. I was just pain jealous of Tucker Bailey. I thought he had all the things that made people rich. He had all the stuff I didn’t have and I wanted all of ‘um.
Miss Higgins told me and Tucker Bailey that the next day we were to give a speech to the whole school and then we would vote for the best one. I was so afraid I didn’t want to go to school the next day but I did, ‘cause that morning my Mama said “BobbyRay you’re not sick, you go on to school today”.
Tucker Bailey came to school that morning wearing a new white shirt and a neck tie, yah, a neck tie, I’m tellin’ ya, Tucker Bailey wore a neck tie to school. I wore the same overalls from yesterday. Tucker Bailey wore shoes,,, shoes, Tucker Bailey was the only person besides Miss Higgins wearing shoes in that schoolhouse that day.
Tucker Bailey spoke first, he said what a great privilege it was going to be to be president of the school. He talked about making us all better citizens of Magoffin County. Tucker Bailey laid out his plan to organize next year’s 7th and 8th graders to remove all the rocks from the playground so the little kids would not get hurt from falling on the rocks. (we go more hurt from throwing than falling) Seeing if he could get his dad to paint the school building which would allow us to take more pride in our school ( I think Tucker Bailey’s mother must’ve wrote that little speech, cause he’s wasn’t that smart to use a big word like privilege) When he finished Miss Higgins lead the applause and congratulated Tucker Bailey on such a fine campaign speech.
Miss Higgins then turned to me and with a somewhat snicker said “Now Bobby Ray are you ready?” Boy was I ever not ready. Somehow I just never thought I’d really have to do this thing. With no thought in my mind what so ever I walked to the front of the room, I turned to face the electorate and said “If you’ll vote for me I’ll give you a RC Cola and a Moon Pie”
The school went wild. Everyone jumped to their feet clapping and yelling and stomping the floor. Miss Higgins had to ring the bell to get the school back under control. With fire in her eyes and I would swear a split tongue of the devil, Miss Higgins looked into the very depths of my soul and said “Bobby Ray how you going to pay for those RC Colas and Moon Pies?” I said “I don’t know” She said “Bobby Ray where you going to get those RC Colas and Moon Pies?” I said “I don’t know”
Then with her best smile for the teacher’s little pet she said “ Tucker, honey you get to speak again”. I looked at Tucker Bailey and for the first time in my life felt sorry for him, he was about to cry and said “I don’t want to talk no more” Miss Higgins then asked me if I wanted to say anything else.
For the second time in my campaign I stood before the voters and said “If you’ll vote for me I’ll give you a RC Cola and a Moon Pie”. This time the bell ringing didn’t work for three full minutes. After Miss Higgins gained control of the school once again, we voted.
Two girls from the 8th grade counted the votes. Final Vote: Tucker Bailey 1, Bobby Ray 21
I voted for Tucker Bailey that day. He voted for me, not because he wanted to but afraid he’d be the only one voting for Tucker Bailey. I looked that little boy in the eye that day and saw superciliousness turn to fear. At that point Tucker Bailey needed a friend more than anybody in the schoolhouse. I was the closest one to him so it was just my job. I became his friend right then and there. I was to take office the start of the new school year in September.
My family and I moved to Indiana that summer, 1953. Come September I started school in the North Judson Elementary School System, not as the president, just as a 4th grader with political experience.
I never delivered on my campaign promise of RC Colas and Moon Pies to the Tip Top School System. I wonder if they remembered. I bet Tucker Bailey did.
As I set in the East Wing still trying to make a decision on how to vote this 2008 presidential election, I have this empty feeling that I’ve been offered a RC Cola and a Moon Pie as Hope and Change.
It’s now been four years since I first told the Tip top Presidential Election Campaign story. I’m once again setting in the EastWing, this Sunday evening, two days before the presidential election. An RC Cola and a Moon Pie are once again being offered.
Just today I read an interesting article about Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, he had no military experience whatsoever before his daddy made him a four-star general in the military. This is a snot-nose twerp who has never accomplished anything in his life that would even come close to military leadership. He hasn’t even so much as led a Cub Scout troop, coached a sports team or commanded a military platoon. So guess what, they make him the “Beloved Leader” of the country. Shewwww.
Oh, crap! I’m sorry. I just remembered that we did kinda the same thing here in our country . We took an arrogant community organizer who has never worn a uniform and made him Commander-in-Chief. A guy who has never had a real job, worked from a budget, or led anything more important than an ACORN demonstration, and made him Commander-In-Chief. Oh Shewwww, I’m sorry I brought this up. Never mind.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, Election Time At Last, Retelling The Tip Top Presidential Campaign, Another Round With RC Cola And A Moon Pie, Commanders-In-Chiefs & Community Organizers.
I Wish You Well,