It used to be a front porch overlooking a little thicket of trees. Back in the day it must have been a pleasant place to hang a hat and rock in a rocker the whole day away. I’m guessing a ma and a pa had a conversation or two right there on the porch. I could imagine children opening and slamming the door as they popped in and out for lemonade and fresh baked pie. Maybe they hooked up a radio and listened to Bing, Frank and Dean Martin crooning true love tunes. Most likely the folks would watch wildlife like deer and fox and muskrats appear right there outside the five windows. Pretty near every day would be a good day I reckon, sitting on a porch like this one. This porch faces due west so you can imagine the sunsets outside of it. They are brilliant. It’s the hottest room in all the cabin come summertime. All of those windows drink in the sun and heat it up some. Yup. This was quite the porch until it became my closet.
I don’t have much but what I do have I like to keep real nice. The windows shine natural light on to the layers of clothes that hang just so. Thank goodness for natural light or I would be picking out navy blue pants and putting on black socks thinking they were the same color.
Light bulbs illuminating fake light don’t do hues justice. Black looks blue and visa versa and peach looks pink. That doesn’t happen when God’s natural light from the windows of the porch shine through. Yes sir. I got myself a real nice looking closet in this porch. It’s a good thing too. I have an ensemble to pick out! It’s soon voting day. I need an outfit to wear and it has to be just right.
I could make it obvious and wear red. I own two pieces of red in my whole closet but only because of Christmas. The first year that husband of mine and I got married we began a tradition. Traditions are important to me. I don’t have one of those Hallmark families. It just wasn’t in my cards so I had to adapt. Traditions are a great way for down-on-their-family- luck folks to make happy memories. I bought that husband of mine and me both matching, red fleece pullovers. Every Christmas Eve just before we’re ready to open gifts I run to the closet on the porch to pull out the red sweaters. They haven’t been worn for 365 days by the time we put them on again. There is something reassuring about the tradition of opening gifts in them. It is a constant in a world of unstoppable change and circumstances. Those red pullovers will always be there. There I go jumping to a holiday that is two months away when really I wanted to talk about the election. Lord knows we’ve not heard enough about that. So as I was saying: I could make it obvious and wear red but wearing red makes me feel dead. I’m anything but dead especially when I have the fever inside of me to vote! Back in the day women weren’t allowed to. Binders filled with female names in history turned in to books that lend intrigue to us history buffs. We women have overcome some pretty magnitacular circumstances I’m telling you. It’s funny to me that any man, woman, elected official or media outfit would have the know-how to make you believe any one of those rights could be taken from us now that we already have them.
The windows in what was once a porch illuminate the shelves of shirts, the racks of clothing cache and the jewels to accessorize so why do I have nothing to wear to vote?
It’s because voting is a very complex, personal, multiple-emotion yielding tradition. I don’t vote based on just one thing I believe. I don’t vote based on the psycho-babble of all of television commercials trying to talk me in to trusting someone. I never vote based on what is the popular thing to do. Want to know my secret? I vote based strictly on my eternity and not just my tomorrow. Like our red, fleece pullovers we wear on Christmas Eve –voting on my eternity is a constant.
I’m guessing the people who used to live in my cabin during eras past thought the same thing of this front porch. They most likely came in from the fields and just knew the enclosed, west-facing space would be waiting for them. A wonderful, Proverbs 31 woman was probably waiting for him. A constant. Constants are comforting. The voting booths are waiting for YOU! We are worthy. We have a choice and a chance to vote with our voice and our pants. I’ve decided to wear something real snazzy. Since I’m voting based on my eternity I’ll dress like I’m on my way there. Happy Election Day 2012 Patriots!
Ingstad lives on the prairie near Valley City and writes this column for the Times-Record.