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Sharon Randall: How much does your vote matter to you?

By Sharon Randall

If you are anything like me — and I certainly hope you are — you might like to spend a little time giving some thought to a few random questions that I have listed below.

I’ve also included my answers as examples, but please feel free to come up with your own. I would love to read them.

For me, thought-provoking questions can act like painkillers whenever I’m facing some kind of discomfort like a root canal or a colonoscopy or having to plod through 65 pages of a voter guide trying to decide which candidates and ballot measures to vote for or against.

Bear in mind, these questions are merely distractions. They will not spare you from the actual discomfort. You’ll still need to do whatever you need to do. But they might give you something more pleasant to think about, if only for a while.

Question 1: What will your family and friends remember about you when you’re not around any more to remind them that nobody’s perfect?

Answer: I hope my family and friends will remember how much I adore them. How it always lights me up to see their faces or hear their voices or read their texts and emails. That no matter how worthless I might be about keeping in touch, they are always in my heart. I swear.

Question 2: When you reach a point on the road of life where there are more miles behind you than ahead, what are some of the memories you’ll look back on that will make you smile—or maybe laugh out loud?

Answer: Here are four of my favorite, happiest memories:

As a mother, I remember how close I felt to my children as they were growing up. Losing their dad to cancer brought us even closer. And now that they’re grown with children of their own—and have a much clearer understanding of what I went through in raising them — we are closer than ever before.

As a nana, I remember that my grandchildren are God’s gift to keep me alive and laughing at stories like this one: Last week, after I tweaked my back, I wrapped it in a thick padded brace that I disguised, I thought, under a loose fitting shirt. When my 5-year-old granddaughter, Eleanor, saw me, she gasped in horror. Then she threw her arms around me and whispered, “Don’t worry, Nana, you look fat, but you’re not.”

As a wife, I always smile remembering the day my former editor (and future husband) broke into a sweat and told me he’d been carrying a torch for me for a while and thought I ought to give him a chance.

And as a woman, and an American, I remember this: Born in 1894, my grandmother, like other American women, was denied the right to vote until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. From that year forward, she voted in every presidential election until she died in 1972.

On Election Day, I would watch her get all done up in her best dress, hat and gloves, and costume jewelry. Granddad would put on his preaching suit and a red, white and blue tie. Then they’d walk arm in arm into the courthouse to vote.

I wish you could’ve seen them.

Once, I heard a neighbor lady try to tell my grandmother why she hadn’t bothered to vote.

“I figure,” said the woman, “one vote don’t matter much.”

Grandmother replied, “Well, my vote matters plenty to me.”

I became eligible to vote for the first time six months after she died. I didn’t dress up, but I carried my 10-month-old son on my hip. When we stepped into the voting booth, I felt sure my grandmother was there with us.

Since then, I’ve voted in every presidential election including, lord willing, this year’s. And I want to assure you that my vote always matters plenty, to me and my grandmother.

Final question: How much does your vote matter to you?

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.

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