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Extended Family



Once in a while, if you're lucky, your workplace becomes a home away from home.

I'm lucky.

Friday night, I was at a surprise birthday party for the field organizer at my local Obama office. The party, like everything else at the office, was a team effort. One woman emailed me the photo of the guest of honor shaking Obama's hand so we could order a photo cake; another showed up with hummus. A sizable group of our volunteers turned out, despite the short notice and the Friday night, to sing "Happy Birthday" and give their best wishes. Some even brought special guests; one brought her tiny baby bird, and another brought her whole family, including a baby decked out in an outfit featuring a pacifier with Barack's logo!

It was then that it struck me: I'm going to miss this place and these people.

I've been volunteering there for two months, and I only have a week more before the election is history, the office is emptied of computers and cell phones and yard signs, and the people all return to their own lives.

I cannot say enough in praise of these smart, funny, committed and caring folks who, with a variety of challenges in their lives, nevertheless have rolled up their sleeves and gone to work for Barack Obama, powered by their vision of a better America and a more peaceful world.

The office is America as it should be, as it always should have been, with people of different skin colors and different ethnic backgrounds coming together and working in common cause.

It is a place where people who are passionate about their country and their future share their minds and their hearts with local voters over the phone and door to door, and with one another during breaks. I have enjoyed some wonderful conversations here about a wide variety of issues.

It is a place where members of the public stop by to chat, to vent, to share, to laugh and to almost cry sometimes. From my seat at the front desk, I have heard some profound insights from people who sat down on the love seat near the door and just wanted to be heard.

We have the very young (the 'Obama baby,' who quietly sits in her mom's lap as she makes phone calls), the students (a high-school girl who is a frequent phone-banker, and a dedicated group from the local college who go out canvassing door to door), and adults from recent college grads to working parents (and some couples who volunteer together) to retirees. For some, this is their first campaign. One energetic phone-caller insists, "I'm not political" -- but you wouldn't know it!

Whether it's putting together yard signs or putting out the trash, people are willing to pitch in. The goal is in sight, but everyone knows it's only going to happen if we keep working for it.

Election Night, I just know, is going to bring me to tears -- hopefully happy tears -- and some of them will be from saying farewell to my home away from home.

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ext_112377
Oct. 28th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
I find it a blessing when you can meet so many lovely people.

Sad you will be leaving the "job" but excited that the election is close and will be over soon.


Teri
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )