Monday, March 1, 2021

Sifoddling Along

By Marilyn Carnell

Politics is a Hazardous Game

Politics has dominated our news this year. Sometimes drowning out information about the COVID pandemic. Thank heaven, for now, things have calmed down a little bit and I can sleep through the night most of the time. But it does remind me of some experiences my family has had in running for office. Someday, I may even write about my own experience as a public servant but after nearly 25 years it is still a sore subject.

This is a tale about my brother-in-law, Earl Spears running for Sheriff. It could only happen in a small, inbred town like Pineville, Missouri.

Earl was a good campaigner and was elected for three terms. I don’t recall the years of this event and don’t remember the name of this particular opponent, but it went like this:

My Mom and Dad lived in the north addition to Pineville, one block off Dog Hollow Road. The street didn’t have a name until about 1950 when it was named King Street to honor its origin from the King farm. Houses were hastily constructed in the 1920s and my parents bought a house and a few acres in the early 1930s.

What Earl’s opponent didn't know was how close and complex families were.

He first stopped at my Grandma Annie Epperson Carnell’s house to leave his card and pitch for her vote. My Mom was visiting her as she conveniently lived next door. Mom assured him that there were no votes for him at that house. He went across the street to meet another potential voter, hoping he had seen the last of my Mom.

Meanwhile, Mom went home to pick up some fresh tomatoes to share with family members. He knocked on their door and was met by my Mom who once again said she was not going to vote for him.

He proceeded up the east side of the street to the end, two blocks away uneventfully, but he may have been a little shaken. Working his way down the west side of the street, he got to my Aunt Ruth Taylor Clemons. Aunt Ruth was my great aunt on my paternal side. My Grandmother was Florence Mahala Clemons Carnell. He was once again greeted by my Mom who had stopped by for a minute.

Two doors down he was greeted by my Aunt Fannie Bunch Legore, Mom’s sister. Mom and Aunt Fannie were catching up on family news. Next door was the Campbell family and while he was talking with them, Mom passed him by and was visiting my Aunt Florence Carnell Laughlin, Daddy’s sister.

Apparently, he abandoned his efforts to gain support on the north side of town and worked his way to the southern end of Main Street – less than a mile from that nest of voters for Earl.

Of course, by then Mom had driven down to see another sister, Etta Bunch Lines and they were sitting in the yard drinking iced tea.

Mom said she thought he gave up on politics that day and probably still has nightmares about being haunted by a slim auburn-haired woman who vigorously opposed his candidacy.

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