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August 28, 2012 7:52 am

The Amend Corner: This and that

Written by Don Amend

I thought I’d write two columns in one this week, just for a change of pace.

The “this” part is a reflection on last week’s primary election, which I didn’t have much to do with, being a registered Democrat. (Actually, I became a Republican for the day, so I did participate, but don’t spread it around.)

It was an unusual election for me, because I voted by absentee ballot, something I really don’t like to do. I always figure part of the responsibility of a citizen involves going to the trouble of trekking to the polling place and casting my votes in public. This year, though, in Rochester, Minn., to keep a doctor’s appointment on primary day, I was a bit too far from the Park County Fairgrounds to make the trip.

Reading the returns was mostly a happy thing for this moderately conservative liberal voter, particularly the numbers for local House of Representatives races, won by a couple of Davids, one of whom will replace a guy named Dave, the guy who originally gave me the job at the Tribune.

I covered both David Northrup and David Blevins as members of the Powell school board, and based on what I saw, I expect them to be hardworking and effective legislators. I believe they will be thoughtful representatives who will always put the welfare of their constituents and the state of Wyoming at the top of their respective agendas.

Both men are conservative, but from what I saw in their work for the school kids and staff in Powell, they will not be driven by a conservative philosophy generated in an ivory tower somewhere. Rather, they will look for the most practical and efficient ways to provide necessary services the people of Wyoming require effectively.

While I am happy for Mr. Northrup, I do feel bad for Pat Childers. I have covered legislators before, and have on occasion observed them in action, and I know how ridiculously hard men and women like Mr. Childers work on behalf of their constituents. Despite his many years of hard work for them, voters turned him away, apparently because of his principled support for same-sex couples who wish to enter into legally recognized family relationships.

Mr. Childers should be commended for sticking to his principles and honored for his long service to his constituents.

I also enjoyed Elaine Harvey’s win in her district because she told me some years ago that I had inspired her to run in 2002, when she first won the seat. The previous election I had run for that seat as a Democrat, and though, not surprisingly, I didn’t come close to winning, I felt I had done quite well in a conservative district. Mrs. Harvey thought so, too, and told me that the results of that election showed her that the incumbent I had run against could be beaten.

The ironic part of the story is that I had originally helped the incumbent to win a very close primary race a few years before. He had won that vote by, if I remember correctly, six votes, and I’m pretty sure my work in Greybull helped him get those six votes.

That doesn’t exactly make me a kingmaker in Big Horn Basin politics, but I can say I did make a difference — twice.

Now for the “that” part.

It’s unfortunate that the Mayo brothers decided to locate their clinic in Rochester instead of Powell, but since Powell didn’t come along until about 50 years later, it’s understandable. It does, however, make it quite a project to keep a doctor’s appointment.

The upside of this unfortunate circumstance, however, is that the trip gave us an opportunity to visit all four of our grandchildren. The two of them who live in Rochester were joined by the D.C. duo, who will be moving to Haiti in October, so it was the first time we have seen all four of them together, and maybe our last chance for the next couple of years.

As a result, we were able to watch two girls who are beginning kindergarten this fall and have somewhat different personalities engage in a round of dress-up, during which the scholarly, science-minded girl, whose preferred attire is khaki pants and a T-shirt her dad used to wear, donned her cousin’s “princess dress,” much to the amusement of our son. The boys, both of whom have a fascination for garbage trucks, hauled out every wheeled toy and created a magnificent obstacle course for the rest of us, as boys are won’t to do, and indulged in their mutual interest in putting puzzles together.

The real highlight, though, was evening sessions of Olympic-inspired “diving,” which was invented by the kids but reorganized by our daughter-in-law after one bumped head — something likely to happen when the pool you’re diving into is an overstuffed chair instead of a water-filled basin. It was interesting to see how each child’s personality was demonstrated by the way each approached the dive and the energy he or she put into it.

It was worth the price — and the discomfort — of a round-trip plane ticket.

I leave you an observation by our 5-year-old Minnesota granddaughter, passed along today by our daughter.

“Sometimes I feel God’s hand reach down and tickle me on the back of my neck. It makes me laugh.”

I hope he tickles your neck today, because everybody needs a laugh sometimes.

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