We live less than a block from campus, only a few blocks from where the first presidential debate was held. So the day before the debate we decided we needed a Kerry-Edwards yard sign. In an earlier post I described how I found the local Kerry-Edwards office. I went there the morning of the debate, and they gave me a yard sign, with the metal mount, saying it was just about the last one, they were going fast. We installed it as soon as we got home. That afternoon, returning from collecting the kids, I saw our neighbor from across the street, whom I'll call Ms. 'Morales'.
I should explain about the 'Morales' family. Viewed from across the street, they seem to be your typical Coral Gables residents—a very successful Cuban-American couple, a few years older than us, one college-age son. Mr. Morales is an accountant, she's a not-quite-full-time Realtor.
(I will never forget one of my first encounters with Mr. Morales back in 1992. Having just arrived from London, we moved into our house a few days after Hurricane Andrew, at a time when there was no electricity anywhere in the neighborhood, roads were impassible due to trees down, and everything was in confusion. Our house was basically untouched, but theirs sustained severe damage. Despite this, we were more disoriented than they, in part because we were not used to the heat and humidity, had no clue where anything was, no emergency supplies, not even a candle or flashlight to unpack by when it got cool enough at night to actually move.
Despite their own serious damage, the Moraleses made every effort to be helpful. When the radio started warning about not leaving damaged houses unattended due to the danger of looters, Mr. Morales come over to comfort us. We had nothing to worry about, he said. He had an arsenal in his house, and was keeping watch on things. Any looter came by he was going to shoot him. The idea of an amateur, armed with an arsenal, poised for looters across the street scared me much more than the remote prospect of the looters themselves, though I understood that Mr. Morales meant his remarks to be friendly.)
So anyway, Ms. Morales made polite conversation about the construction on our house (which proceeds, but not fast enough). Then she came to the point. “I noticed you have a new sign on your lawn.” Uh-oh, thought I. She sees it all day out of her window. This isn't going to be good.
Then she floored me: “Where can I get one?”
It seems the Moraleses, perhaps because of the college (ie draft!) age child, are now virulently anti-Bush. They voted for him in 2000, and boy are they sorry. She is angry about the war in Iraq, Ms. Morales told me—and she looked the way I feel, shaking with anger. And they're angry about the new rules that restrict travel to Cuba, and limit helping any but the closest relatives still there. They're very very anti-Bush; they're voting Kerry.
Of such things are victories made.
(This is the first of at least three stories I plant to tell over the next few days about my Kerry-Edwards sign.)
Next: Someone steals my sign two days after I put it up.