Opinion

Potpourri of preposterous pronouncements

Before we get started in a direction yet to be determined, let me take a moment to thank the many of you who have stopped me in and around the community to express your appreciation for my returning to The South Whidbey Record.

I had little to do with it. All I did was answer the phone. Can I help it if our new publisher and our new editor are too young to know that I was fired from this paper during the last millennium?

Thanks also to Dick, my former bank president, long retired from the old Peoples Bank in Freeland, for yelling -- "Hey Freeman, your hair is gray" across the library parking lot.

In honor of his lovely wife, I ceased and desisted from yelling back -- "Hey Dick, your hair is white."

With announcements out of the way, let us begin with today's discussion of not knowing what to write about.

To begin with, if I talk about the importance of the baseball playoffs and the World Series in our family, I may lose many of you football fans. If I talk about the importance of Chuck Berry's recent birthday last Tuesday, I may lose many of you who think his brother's name is Logan.

Were I to talk about the book "Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman," many of you might just visually skip right over to Betsy Roberts' column to enjoy a real writer.

Oh, so you read Betsy first. Well, quickly then, before I lose you, did you know that on page 47 of the above referenced book about a man who helped make the Oxford English Dictionary, Whidbey Island is mentioned?

Thanks to my friend Helen of Tucson, I can share this quote without the author's permission. In the third paragraph, after describing the fate of certain relatives of Simon Winchester, the author discusses Thomas T. Minor, the third half-brother, who was mayor of Seattle.

"He moved to the American West, first as doctor to the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska, then to the newly acquired Alaskan Territory to collect specimens of Arctic habitations, and finally on to Port Townsend and Seattle, where he was elected mayor. In 1889, still holding the post, he took off on a canoe expedition to Whidbey Island with a friend, G. Morris Haller. Neither man ever returned. Neither boats nor bodies were ever found. A Minor Street and a Thomas T. Minor School remain, as well as a reputation in Seattle that equates the name of Minor with some degree of glamour, pioneering and mystery."

Can you imagine naming a Native American tribe after an RV? Those poor folks in Nebraska must have been upset. Can't you just see all those Winnebagos parked outside the Winnebago Casino?

Speaking of casinos, we have an election approaching.

Elections are like shooting craps. You never really know how things will play out, but you can guarantee that someone will win and many will lose.

Our Island County Official Local Voter's Pamphlet is a real treat to read, even if you are unable to vote for many of the candidates who seek positions outside your precinct.

Some of the races we are watching include the hotly contested Freeland Water District, Position No. 3. Nolen (Rocky) Knickerbocker is actually desiring this position without benefit of a statement or photo. Who does he think he is? An unopposed incumbent?

Of course, for me, voting has lost the thrill of the hunt.

For several years now, we have been precinct-less in Clinton, Freeland, Double Bluff, parts of Langley, parts of Oak Harbor, Possession, Scenic Heights, and Penn Cove.

Not only do we precinct deficient people have to vote without benefit of socialization, we have no lines to wait in. No longer can I vote at Trinity Lutheran Church before telling precinct worker and wife Norma Metcalf that her husband Jack has taken an early lead. No longer do I get my American flag sticker that says "I Voted."

And how am I supposed to vote properly if this year voter identification is required? Will I be forced to verify my own identity?

What price is freedom when we have too much freedom? Did our founding fathers ever envision a time when precinctlessness would run rampant in our communities? Are you not insulted by the governmentally forced opportunity to vote by mail ballot?

Is it right that I vote in the privacy of my caboose? Is it right that I can vote privately as I march to Sousa records, doing column lefts and column rights while punching my chads all over the living room?

I am sure that Island County Auditor Suzanne Sinclair toiled over these precinct closures like she probably toils over a plate of scrambled eggs at her 7 a.m. Rotary meetings. How can anyone eat that early? I prefer voting on an empty stomach.

In fact, my ballot is here. Let's do it. I am ready to vote.

Where's that special oversized, industrial strength silver safety pin that I used to punch those little baby chads last election? Oh, there it is. Still stuck in my poster of Millard Fillmore.

You can reach Jim by e-mail at fun@whidbey.com.

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