MAMA GOES TO
The polling place where they will vote is nine miles northeast of our ranch. It is a one-room country schoolhouse set out in the sandhills, no other buildings in sight. The folks will be cutting through many pastures and opening and closing just as many barbed-wire gates to get there. You had to know where the gates were and know one hill from the other to do this.
If they had driven to the polls in their 1912 Ford, the route would have been twice as long, with twice as many gates to open and close. The road was only wagon tracks in the sand, up and down hills. Taking the road, they would have had a pretty good chance of getting stuck in the sand, having a flat tire, or suffering some other breakdown. Going on horseback was a much faster, surer trip.
By the time our parents reach the voting place, cast their ballots, visit with the neighbors, and ride home, it is late in the afternoon. They have made the trip knowing they would cancel out each other’s vote. For some reason they never agreed not to ride those 18 miles every election day to cancel out each other’s vote.
The trip was not so bad for the April primary, but the weather for November elections could be very cold. I often think of my parents voting when I am riding down the street a few blocks to cast my ballot. I’m in a nice warm car and have no gates to stop and open, yet I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it, if my vote will make a difference.
Dad died in 1956, at the age of 84. Mama lived to be 100 years and 8 months. I am 90 now and Bertie 88. We live only 20 miles apart, and we often get together and talk over old times. We don’t always remember things the same way, but we remember the same about the great day that Mama and all the women in Nebraska were allowed the right to vote.