Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tired but satisfied after going door-to-door in New Hampshire

View from Clinton/Kaine gathering place today
I'm glad I went to New Hampshire three times in the past few weeks to canvas for Hillary Clinton and Maggie Hassan (for Senate) and the other Democrats, but although I had planned to go back one more time, on Election Day, I think I'm going to call it a day.

It is tiring to jump in and out of cars, walk down long driveways, climb steps (some with no handrails, not my speciality), fend off dogs and knock on the doors of homes in this tightly contested state. The other times our group from Northampton (413forHRC) went to Keene to a fully operational office where they took good care of us by feeding us (and giving us coffee) before we went out and when we came back in. Today, with Keene being flooded by volunteers, we weren't really needed. So I went a longer distance (about an hour and a half drive) to Jaffrey, much more rural than Keene, with a couple of others from Northampton, where we had met as a group and paired, or tripled off into cars.

The people I drove with might have thought I was crazy because I kept saying I was worried about the food. I think I said that it's the reporter in me, always wanting to know where the free food is.

We were looking for an office but realized as we went along bumpy roads that we were going to a house. I didn't bring any food because I thought there would be some. (Am I whining? Sorry! I need to eat. I need coffee!) The house was beautiful. When we got into the rather chaotic kitchen I picked up a cookie and popped it into my mouth. My tongue screamed. It was a "feel the Bern" cookie with ginger and cayenne pepper in it.

I drove off with a nice local woman. She was definitely dedicated. She was having a procedure on her back tomorrow (in Boston) and would be working at the polls on Tuesday. We headed out with a list of about 20 houses on rural roads. The last two times I went up to the houses with someone else. But it was just me because her back was sore. I was a little nervous but I got the hang of it.

This was the second pass to the same houses in the get out the vote, or GOTV, operation that was so successful with Obama. You introduce yourself as a volunteer for their local Democratic office and confirm that they're committed to voting for Clinton and Hassan. If they are, you ask if they have a plan for Election Day and whether they know their polling place and give them some material. Then you write it up on your checklist. Volunteers will return again on Election Day to see if they need any help getting to the polls or have any questions.

At this late stage, I actually came across two people who still hadn't decided. At one of these houses, I talked to a youngish mother while she apologetically wiped the St. Bernard slobber off my black coat. Her two daughters came to the door. I gave her my spiel. (One is sane, the other not, Clinton started out working hard for women and families and continues to this day, she's smart, world leaders are afraid of Donald Trump and YOU SHOULD BE TOO...Well, not exactly the boldfaced words. Looking at one of the daughters (who would probably have something to say at the family dinner that night where the parents were going to make a decision), I said, pointedly, he is very mean to women.

That seemed to register. I also pointed out that the daughter and I were wearing the same color striped shirt. She smiled. You never know what will make a connection. The mother said she was leaning to Clinton. So maybe I swayed one of the two last undecided voters in the state.

By the time we were nearing the end of our route, it was 3:15, and I had had a little candy, a few nuts, and a banana. We stopped at a gas station/market and I got a sandwich. Back at the house, the people I had come with were not back yet. So I filled in my report and waited about 45 minutes. I probably finished earlier because I was with a local woman who knew her way around.

I saw a coffee pot and a tin of coffee and asked if it was possible to have a cup. (Was that rude? I don't know, but I was cold and tired and I really needed it.) Luckily the owner of the house said he was just thinking of making a pot. He ground some beans. The strong coffee that resulted never tasted so good as I looked out at the beautiful view.

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