Working at Garrettsville’s Precinct A  for thirteen hours on Election Day—with a fairly steady stream of citizens exercising their rights, good for them—was enough to occupy my time; I had no occasion to commit mayhem on the Portage County Board of Elections computer system, though I’m sure there are those who probably think that I could do it by remote control.  Hey, the system is ten or so years old.  In electronics terms that’s practically Ice Age.  The latest talk is of getting an optic scan system rather than a touch-screen one.  That’ll be like all of those tests in school where you have to fill in the little circles and use only a number 2 pencil, maybe like the ones at golf courses for keeping score.  Maybe we could vote at golf courses.  Maybe you’ll  get to take your pencil home with you instead of the “I Voted Today” stickers.  Nah.  Too expensive.  Maybe we could stop in at the 19th Hole for a refreshment after the hard work of voting.

Once upon a time it was standard practice in elections to get about half of the populace (three-quarters on a hotly-contested one) liquored up on Election Day so they’d be more amenable to  voting the way their local party boss directed them to.  It was often the case that candidates held huge parties featuring free booze in the  village greens or township centers or courthouse lawns where people (all males, naturally) had gathered to vote. Actually, it is recorded that George Washington spent some fifty pounds on 160 gallons of liquor to persuade voters to support his bid for election to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758.  Prohibition was the death knell for most of this stuff.   When women got the vote, this type of revelry tapered off  even more and the local churches got into the practice of having Election Day Dinners(with accompanying   fancywork bazaars to showcase, and possibly sell, quilts and doilies and jams and jellies and such), since the bars and saloons were all closed and where else could you go for supper?  Only a handful of states retain the state laws forbidding the sale of alcohol on Election Day.  In the “good old days”, it was even occasionally the case that the polling places could be IN saloons and the poll workers nipped a restorative beverage or two.

Not happenin’ in Precinct  A!

Did anyone else spot the hot-air balloon in the sky somewhere over Trumbull County on Sunday,  around 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.?  Not the Goodyear blimp, just a balloon, not real bright, not moving real fast, just sort of “up there” and adding to the scene.  Must have been one cold ride up there because the temperature down on terra firma was just into the fifties.  Gorgeous scenery though.  Is it just me or was the “color season” rather short and not in quite the Technicolor extravaganza mode that we’ve been used to?  That one early rainy spell that we had was likely the cause.  From up in a balloon, it’s a whole different perspective.

Got a letter from the village Board of Public Affairs, ably represented by Jeff Sheehan, Utility Superintendent, notifying me and other residents of Park Ave. that there would be smoke testing of the area’s sanitary sewers on Thursday, November 5, and offering instructions on how to avoid being inconvenienced by this procedure. It involved closing doors and windows and putting  a half-gallon of  water in all floor drains.  Well, of course I promptly forgot about it entirely until Sunday evening when I sat down to put together this collection of vital information.  Apparently there were no repercussions here in the residence, because I noticed nothing whatsoever, no smoke lingering in the basement—that’s where the only floor drain is located—no clouds in the kitchen or coming from the shower.  The cats never complained…though I don’t imagine that they’d recognize a nasty odor if it showed up before them in fluorescent pink tights; they’re more often on the giving end rather than receiving.

OK, story of the week : My Quiz Bowl kids were scheduled to compete with teams from Ravenna on Wednesday.  I communicated by email with the coach there; they were set to come.  I figured that if we started by  3:30/4:00 things would go right along; we’d be good.  On the day, I posted one of mine outside to direct the visitors to the competition sites, put up signs on the doors with directions, just in case we missed their arrival, set up the buzzers, got ready.

Four o’clock came and went.  So did quite a few more minutes.  No sign.  Finally, stragglers appeared at  a door; questions are asked, “What happened?”  “Bus breakdown?”  No.  What?  “We got lost.”  What?  Apparently, the head honcho…er…honchette is a newbie to the neighborhood and didn’t have a clue about where this Garfield High School was located, neither did the bus driver.  Googling “Garfield” gave her Garfield Heights or Akron Garfield.  No wonder  they wandered!  Still, long story short, the kids got to compete and things turned out fine but I hope that somebody gets that team a map soon, as the season continues and there are places further out than we are.

AND…they’re no more in the dark than the sports section of the Akron Beacon-Journal, which is still trying to report on a school which has not existed since somewhere around 1951.  Since the consolidation into James A. Garfield Local School District, there has been no Garrettsville School, it’s James A. Garfield Local School District—says so in the OHSAA listing.  Get used to it.  Somebody besides myself needs to call them on this.  I’m being ignored.

I taught seventh graders; I’m used to it.