Every now and then I get to thinking that Republicans are just a bunch of mean, stupid lowlifes and I get ready to write a nasty post saying just that. Several weeks of dishonest smears by phone and by mail, along with a few stories about stolen or vandalized yard signs, canvassers getting an earful of racist and jingoistic nonsense, and a weekend in the Organizing for America tent at Driver Days in Suffolk, Virginia, can do that to a Democrat. Fortunately, before I finish such a post, I usually meet someone who reminds me that there are truly good people who don’t agree with me about important issues. This weekend, during Driver Days, that person was Deneen Evans, a representative of Home Instead Senior Care, and a good, compassionate person who will probably vote for Romney.
Driver Days is a street festival in the Driver neighborhood of Suffolk. It’s a nice festival, and I don’t want to scare anybody away from having fun in the good city of Suffolk, but the festival can be a little disheartening when looking at it from behind a table covered with Obama, Kaine, and Ella Ward literature. A big part of Driver days is a celebration of the confederacy, and not all of the confederates there are the “heritage not hate” types, unless you can convince me that the bumper sticker about picking cotton is actually some kind of an apology. Most of the people who passed by our booth this year were carrying Romney signs and wearing confederate flags.
There were a good number of Democrats who stopped by, including a couple of bikers and guy with a big confederate patch on the front of his straw hat, but the Driver festival is, by far, Republican territory and the dirty looks and occasional rude comments from the Romney supporters can really lower someone’s opinion about Republicans.
It was nice to have a friendly native nearby. Home Instead had the spot next to ours, and Deneen and I had a lot of time to chat about politics, Suffolk, and the kind of care, or lack of it, that many seniors are receiving today. One of the things we discussed were the bleak conditions of a local assisted living facility which used to be called Nub Jones, but recently changed it’s name to Oakwood. Deneen not only works for a Senior Care company, she is a volunteer and an advocate for her company’s Be a Santa to a Senior drive, for which Home Instead collects gifts and distributes to them to seniors living in nursing homes such as Oakwood.
This year, as last, the Walmart on Main Street will have a gift giving tree for collecting donated gifts from customers. Here’s how it works (shortened, from the website).
- Remove an ornament from the tree
- Purchase the gift
- Bring ornament and gift back to store and give to a store employee
Deneen and I won’t agree on the best way, as a nation, to ease the suffering of seniors who can’t afford an appropriate level of companionship and medical attention in the last years of their lives, but we do agree that something has to be done.
There is an article about the Be a Santa to a Senior program in the Suffolk News-Herald.
You’ve probably passed by one of those trees. It’s one of those things most of us ignore while filling our carts with corn-syrupy food products and Chinese made plastic trinkets. This year, take a little time to look at the tree and do something to help out. A small gift can make a big difference in the life of a lonely senior.