November 4, 2014 – It’s Election Day! I could hardly sleep last night, filled with nervous anticipation. The polls opened at 8:00 A.M. but Sawyer and I were awake hours earlier. We cleaned up well, thoroughly shaking out our preened feathers until they were soft and elegant. Exactly the look we were going for. We decided to go into town and have breakfast at the little café across from the school in which they keep the voting booths. I ordered a blueberry muffin. It tasted delicious, but I was so nervous, that it was hard to swallow.
“Don’t worry so much, Hap,” Sawyer said in a comforting voice. “I’m sure you’ll be able to cast your vote. After all, I don’t think you would have received the postcard from Hope Ferterbest herself, if she didn’t think you were an eligible voter.”
“Do you think she’s knows that I’m a chicken?” I asked.
“I don’t think she cares if you’re a hen, a moose, or you knit in the nude. She’s looking for your support.”
“What do you think she’s running for?”
“Wasn’t it on the postcard?”
“To be honest, I never read beyond – I NEED YOUR HELP!”
“Well, you’ll know as soon as you see the ballot.”
I wrapped the rest of my muffin in a napkin to save for later and finished my cup of tea. Finally, the clock on the wall hit 7:55 – time to head over to the school. I pulled into a spot not far from the front door. I was surprised to see so many people. Several were grouped outside holding signs but most were waiting for the doors to open. When they did, we moved inside as a unit. No one seemed to notice that Sawyer and I were hens. Instead, they wished us good morning and raved about the sunshine.
Inside the gymnasium was a table set up to register new voters. It turns out, that I didn’t need Eunice the librarian’s help in answering my question about eligibility after all. According to Miss Eloise, (a longtime chum of Mrs. Turner), all I needed was a valid driver’s license to prove my identity. Lucky for Sawyer and me, we had ours handy. Two minutes later and we were declared official voters! I nearly cried. Sawyer was less ecstatic, since technically, this is her second time voting. I don’t think sneaking under the curtain counts, but now she’s acting like an old pro. She marched right over to the line where people stand if their name starts with “s” and waited for her turn to receive a ballot. When one was handed to her, she thanked the woman and walked confidently to an open booth. She ducked under a striped curtain and disappeared.
I, on the other hand, wanted to savor the moment. I looked up at the flag that hangs in the corner of the room and felt my heart swell with pride. I accepted the paper poll from a very nice woman named Myrtle, and stood in the middle of the gym trying to decide which booth to enter. It had to feel right. I finally decided on one under the basketball net. My wing was shaking as I picked up the pen and took my first glance at the ballot. There were so many names! I scanned the document until I came upon, Hope Ferterbest.
Oooh, she’s running for Library Trustee! Unopposed! Brilliant!!!
I happily ticked the box next to her name and made a mental note to request a meeting with Hope once she settles into office. I don’t think we’ll be having any more difficulties at the library.
I slipped my completed ballot into the counter machine. A man by the name of Winslow, handed me a sticker that declared, “I VOTED!” I stuck it on my chest feathers. It’s a smashing accessory.
I felt lighthearted after voting. I followed through on my civic responsibility and may have obtained an ally in the struggle for chicken rights against Eunice. As soon as we were back inside the truck, I opened the napkin and finished the rest of my blueberry muffin. It was even better than I remembered.