March 10, 2015 – Dear Journal, today I won an election of significant importance. I was voted the new Library Trustee for our humble town. I am stunned by the impressive turnout and landslide decision by which I won. I am choosing to believe today’s victory is a testament of the public’s confidence and faith in my abilities over their desire to block the power-hungry, chicken-hating, and all around dreadful soul, Eunice Ignatia Tightklutcher. I am a Library Trustee. We did it. We actually pulled it off!
The day started bright and early. Our flock and our friends from Mrs. Turner’s farm, were at the Middle School a half an hour before the polls opened. Wilma brought 12 dozen boxes of mealworm cookies to hand out. (She is banned from donut holes for a while.) Even if I hadn’t won, it would have been a brilliant day! The sun was shining, icicles were dripping and the song birds sang as if water gurgled over rocks in a woodland forest. It was much too mild to wear our potholder hats, so we donned our colander helmets. For one, they’re stylish, and two… we were prepared for whatever Eunice might have up her sleeves. It’s a good thing.
Mere seconds before the polling station doors opened, an old, black town car with a big dent in the side panel pulled up in front. Out stepped Eunice decked head to toe in a leopard print jumpsuit and rhinestone glasses.
“Uh… who coaxed that genie out of the bottle?” asked Addie sarcastically.
“For the love of everything that is good and decent,” gasped Charlotte. “What has gotten into that woman? What happened to her library clothes?!”
“She’s trying to twist the voter’s minds,” snarked Wilma. “Completely erase the former impression they have of her and replace it with a new one. Brilliant political tactic.”
Peaches walked up to our sign-holding group a few minutes later with a bright orange disc in her beak.
“Look what the cat woman gave us!” she said removing the object and passing it around. “It’s a Frisbee that says, ‘I can catch your attention better than a dumb bird’. Oh look, there’s a $5 bill taped to the back!”
“That’s tampering with a FREE and democratic election!” cried Waffles.
“She’s soliciting voters!” said Addie, thoroughly annoyed.
“FOUL PLAY!!” hollered Charlotte.
“Something’s not right about this,” quacked the drakes in unison. “Not right at all!”
“I’m not going to allow this,” Sawyer announced, marching off to take matters into her own hands.
I watched her march up to Eunice, tilt back her colander helmet so she could look the woman in the eye, and heard her exclaim, “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! Not only is bribery unconscionable, it’s illegal!”
Eunice peered down at Sawyer over her cat-shaped glasses and then pushed her into a snowbank.
“I’m not afraid of your type anymore,” she snarled. “This election is mine… always has been, always will be. Get used to it, you feather-covered rodent!”
Eunice then turned and made her way into the school, assumedly to cast a vote in her own favor. I rushed over to help Sawyer out of the slushy snow.
“Did you see that?!” she asked incredulously. “She assaulted me! We have to do something to stop her!”
“WE… are not going to do anything,” I replied, extending my wing to help her up. “I am not going to win this election by throwing mud at my opponent. The good people of this town can make up their own minds. Either I get chosen, or Eunice does. Whatever they decide, I’ll abide by their wishes.”
“How can you stay so calm!” Sawyer seethed. She doesn’t usually get angry. It caused the pink in her wattle and comb to flush beet red.
“I appreciate your passion, my friend,” I explained, “but this is the way it has to be. I can only be my best self and run a clean race. I want to win this fair and square regardless of what tactics Eunice employs.”
I hadn’t told Sawyer, but I was already working on a plan B if I lost the election. I was going to draw up plans for our own library; one that would be inclusive to animals and humans alike. It would be a huge undertaking, but I wasn’t going to let the dream of free knowledge for all go down the drain because of one setback. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go that route.
By 8:15 PM, all of the votes had been counted. Eunice and I stood side by side inside the gymnasium as the Overseer of Votes counted the ballots for Library Trustee. We were third in line behind the Road Agent post and the opening for Cemetery Supervisor. The flock stood off to the side, holding wings and nervously shifting their weight from one leg to the other. Finally, the counting process was complete. Mrs. Curran, the Overseer of Votes, picked up the small microphone in front of her, and began to announce the results.
“Next, is the highly contested position of Library Trustee. At first, we were concerned that no one was interested and the slot would remain unfilled. So thank you to the two individuals who stepped forward and made this a real race. If nothing else, the library has received plenty of visibility, and that’s a good thing. Now for the results. Former head librarian, Eunice Ignatia Tightklutcher… 3 votes.”
I immediately turned and looked at Eunice. My heart hurt for her when I saw a flinch of disappointment and shock flash across her eyes. I didn’t have time to process any further.
“Happy Feet, the hen from Cluck, Cluck, Doo!… 1,960 votes. Congratulations, Happy! You are the new Library Trustee for our town!”
Immediately, the flock swooped in and scooped me up in their arms. They bounced me into the air and hoisted me onto Bo’s shoulders while he and Tim crowed proudly. Peaches marched around in a circle pumping her pet stick up and down to the music of the invisible band playing in her head. Charlotte adjusted my pearls in anticipation of my formal portrait.
Before we left the gymnasium, I sought out Eunice to wish her well and invite her to visit the library any time she wants. I couldn’t find her. Emaline said she spotted her gripping the lady behind the ballot counting machine in a chokehold before a police officer and her sister dragged her out of the school. We don’t yet know if charges will be filed against her.
What a night it’s been! Mom was so excited for us that she piled us in the van and took us all out to dinner at Bald Louie’s. I had the cornbread special with mixed veggies and a slice of apple pie for dessert. We ordered a big piece of pie for Mom, too! This one had a candle in it.
“Happy birthday, Mom!!” we sang. “I bet you thought we forgot!” I teased.
“I know better than to bet against all of you,” Mom smiled. “Thank you, everyone. This has been the best birthday, ever!”
I could tell that she was proud of me for winning the election, and proud of the others for running such a smashing campaign. We’re all flying high on adrenaline tonight.
Before the evening ended, we took a few minutes to talk about the brewery. With the snow melting, it’s time to get the Spring line going. The team suggested that we name a beer after Eunice. We took a vote. In a few weeks, Tightklutcher’s Grip Pale Ale will be hitting the shelves. Life is good!
PS: Thank you to everyone who voted for me! I won’t let you down!