The day of the election finally arrived. In the evening our candidates, friends and supporters met at a local restaurant, the Office Lounge, for cocktails, a buffet dinner, and to await the election results. The place was mobbed. The atmosphere was electric, alive and anticipatory but tinged with a little reserve as we all knew that nothing was certain until the “fat lady sings.”
The polls closed at 7 pm, but it would take several hours for the ballots to be counted. Because there were two opposing forces, we had set up poll watchers throughout the day and had observers present during the counting of the ballots. We were taking no chance for any hanky-panky to occur.
Embers were glowing in the fireplace at the “Lounge,” but the sun was still out and it was warm enough for the crowd to flow out onto the deck. There I bumped into Norm Vance. We reminisced back to 2002 when he began his efforts to get a new board of directors. This had been a very stressful time for both of us, but more so for Norm because his wife, Ruth, had lost her job with the clinic resignation. As I mentioned previously, she had joined with Susan, the nurse practitioner, to open the Women’s Clinic. We agreed that this showed that good people could rise above a disaster and come out on top. Jim and I had then been handed the baton by Norm, and we had brought it to this night. After reminiscing with quite a few friends, Jim and I took a nostalgic trip back a year to when we had first begun this journey: the mass clinic resignation, the attempt to open a new private clinic, the EMS debacle. I left out my run-in with Wally, it not being something to remember. Jim’s master plan had brought us to this point. Would we win tonight to culminate the efforts of so many people?
This was now two weeks after the LWV meeting, and I was feeling somewhat stronger physically. Still the recovery was taking longer than I had expected. Weakness and tiredness would still grip me late every afternoon to the extent that it was an effort to do anything other than to rest in the evening. However, I had waited for this evening for over a year, and I would literally rather have died than not be here.
About 9 pm, while we were standing around talking and waiting in anticipation, the telephone rang. All went quiet. Then a big cheer began to roll across the room. Our entire slate had won in a landslide. We had all received four times as many votes as the nearest other candidate, with Dr. Jim Pruitt garnering the most votes. In my joy I admit to a fleeting thought of the other camp and what they must be feeling: utter despair and disappointment I supposed.
The rest of the evening was one of joyous celebration with a lot of back-slapping, toasting and congratulations.