Chauffeur Driven

July 11, 2009

In my home political discussion was a part of everyday life. The friendly bantering went on, day after day, month after month, year after year.
It always amused me when I heard my father John trying to convince my mother Mary to vote for his party. Rather than argue over politics a sweet smile would grace her gentle face and her brown eyes would look kindly on him. However, she always kept her own council.
We, as children, were taught the importance of casting our vote. It was stated “If you don’t vote you haven’t the right to complain.” If there wasn’t anyone worthy of your vote, well then, you went to the polling booth and spoiled your ballet. But you exercised your right. It was a sacred trust.
I remember one voting day in particular. My father knew my mother intended to vote for his competition. A politician my father did not like. Trying to prevent this from happening he decided to vote on his way to work leaving mom at home to make her own way to the polls.
Mary was a proficient, pro-active woman. One must remember at that time women were expected to stay home and bring up their children. A woman was expected to agree with her husband on most if not all matters. And what did women know about politics anyway?
Fortunately my father was a modern, intelligent, man who accepted my mother’s ability to think for herself. When Mary realized she would have a problem getting to the polls she telephoned me at the office. Her request was that I come home immediately after the office closed and accompany her to the polling station. It wasn’t a problem for me. During the week I left my car parked in our driveway and took public transit to work. I had intended to go home and pick up my car first anyway.
After supper mother suggested we telephone the political party of our choice and ask to have a car pick us up. An official car would save us looking for parking space and perhaps a little walk. Having done so, the car arrived. A very pleasant gentleman stood at the door patiently waiting.
I helped mom down the stairs and into the parked car. It took considerable time before we were safely and comfortably settled into the back seat.
The driver started the car, pulled the wheel hard making a U turn and pulled to the curb at the corner two doors down. Disembarking, he opened the back door, stood back and smiled politely. We were in front of our neighbours home; A 100 feet away from our very own door. Stuttering and stumbling I asked;
‘”Is this where we are to vote?”
He nodded his head politely, looked at me and softly said, “Yes Miss.” We untangled ourselves from the car. Not looking at mom, I took her arm. I choked out a thank you and said; “Please, don’t wait for us, we will find our own way home.”
To my great embarrassment, there he was, standing at the door awaiting us as we left the building. Rather than prolong the embarrassment of refusing his insistent offer of a drive we struggled into the back seat.
A moment later, red faced and straining to hold back hysterics, we disembarked and graciously thanked our chauffeur. Staring straight ahead we made for the front door. Closing it firmly behind us we collapsed into chairs amid an explosion of laughter.

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