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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Of Politics and a Lack of Confusion
By Glenn A. Hascall
08/16/07


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Once upon a time I was a mayor – no place you’ve probably heard of.

I remember the first night I arrived for a council meeting. I had moved into the city about two weeks before and I received a call asking if I would be interested in applying to fill a vacancy on the council. Apparently the man who had been living in the home we purchased had been on the council so when he moved out there was a vacancy.

My immediate reaction was, “No, but thanks for calling.”

“Well, won’t you even consider it?” the lady asked on the other end. She then proceeded to tell me more about the position and what a great thing it would be for me to be involved. I jotted her number down, but made no commitment. Later in the afternoon I called to tell her I wasn’t interested, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Long story short I was appointed to the position that night.

One of the council members had been in office for almost twenty years. He was a short aging man named Don. As I was apparently the only individual to show enough interest to show up at the meeting, Don looked at me and said, “He looks like a nice guy, I say yes.” All the other council members agreed and I took a seat amongst the rather ugly orange Naugahyde council chairs.

Within two years I was voted into the position of mayor, Don was still there, but he was quieter than he’d been.

Soon this man would come to me at the beginning of each council meeting and say, “You know, I have Alzheimer’s, but don’t you worry, the doctor has given me medicine to help.”

For more than three years Don would repeat that exact same line to me at the start of every meeting.

Other council members cornered me…

“What are YOU going to do about Don?”

“Can’t something be done to get him off the council?”

“Does he even know what is happening?

I responded in a rather unusual way. Prior to the next meeting I had a plaque made that memorialized Don for his work on the council and lauded him for his years of service.

His wife told me later that he had tears when he put that plaque up in their home. He’d never been honored for anything before.

I’m not sure the other council members were overly enthusiastic about my response to Don, but they let the issue rest.

It wasn’t six moths later when we received news that Don had been placed in a nursing home so I decided to drop by for a visit.

“Hello, Don.”

“Mary will be back to the house in a bit, she had to get some groceries.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“No, but I’m sure Mary will know. If you could just wait till she gets home.”

“You were a part of the city council.”

Tears flooded his eyes, “Yes, they gave me a plaque. I know it’s around here somewhere.”

His eyes raced over walls of what he thought was home, yet they did not find a plaque. “Oh, you should have been to some of our meetings,” he said. “We did some fine things.”

“I have heard good things about what you did.”

“I wonder when the next meeting is? Awww,” he snapped his smooth fingers, “I bet Mary will know. Do I know you?”

I told him my name.

“Well, it was sure nice to meet you and when you’re in the city drop by the lake it’s just beautiful. We fixed it up real good, you know.”

Two months later my first supporter in politics passed away. He couldn’t remember much, but he remembered the city council and the plaque.

At the next meeting everyone one of the council members came up to me and said, “You did the right thing with Don.”

Sometimes we have a tendency to get confused and look at life backwards. Instead of honoring others for their service we tend to criticize them for their age and for illnesses that are outside their control.

Yes, Don was confused about many things, but he still wanted to contribute and he never disrupted a meeting. I made the choice to see a person and not allow an illness to define how I responded. I have never regretted that decision for someday I might be where Don once was.


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This article has been read 778 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 08/23/07
Classic "Do unto others …" An timely reminder and well done. Only two weeks in town, before they asked you to be on city council — wow!
Dee Yoder 08/23/07
First, I smiled as I read the details concerning the appointment to city council. It reminded me of an old Newhart episode from TV many years ago! I never realized that this actually happened in real life! (If your story is true, that is.)
Second, I melted like butter at the description of Don, and the way the MC responded to his illness. My Dad has Alzheimer's and he wants to be included still in life. I appreciate people like the MC who can see the way people used to be, and the value their lives still hold.
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
Very good, encouraging piece. Should help us all to have second thoughts about how we handle delicate situations.
Linda Watson Owen08/23/07
There's no confusion about the quality here...this story is wonderful! Such a treasure presented in just the right gentle tone and voice.
Joanne Sher 08/24/07
What a lovely tribute! You did a wonderful job with description and characterization. This touched my heart.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/25/07
This story leaves the reader with such a warm feeling and a reminder of our responsiblity to encourage others, no matter how limited they are. Thank you for sharing this.
Dave Wagner08/27/07
Stellar re-telling of a wonderful act of kindness. Nicely done, G.
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
I'm glad you showed compassion to Don. This is a great story AND a good lesson. I like your closing. (there but for the grace of God...)
LaNaye Perkins08/29/07
Your story touched my heart deeply. It shows a wonderful message of doing right by others. Great writing!
Brenda Welc08/29/07
Very well written story. A great show of compassion to others! Great writing!
Betty Castleberry08/29/07
This is a very touching story. Is it true? I loved this.
Patty Wysong08/29/07
I love the voice used in this piece--very conversational. The truth is timely and the story packs a punch. Well done!
Jan Ackerson 08/29/07
How blessed you were to be such a vessel of grace. Thank you so much for sharing this.
Kristen Hester08/29/07
This is a great story. I really liked your opening line "no place you've ever heard of." Good job. Sweet ending.
George Parler 08/29/07
Beautiful story. You captured a wonderful character and spirit in your writing. Excellent message. Good job.