"You can't have Thanksgiving without turkey. It's like Fourth of July without apple pie, or Friday with no two pizzas."- Joey, Friends
A typical evening at our home, approximately fifteen years ago: It's about six o'clock. Courtney and Ashley (ever-helpful) have volunteered to wipe off the counter where we ate dinner. They're working around Duke, who is still sitting on a stool, kicking his legs against the bar, protesting the meal (the noodles are green. He doesn't eat colored noodles). Currently, my dad is trying to convince him that one no-thank-you-bite won't actually hurt him. He disagrees.
I'm probably following Courtney and Ashley, but not really helping the clean-up process. Sam is opening his second vanilla Eskimo Pudding Pop for the evening. After he opens it and licks it, he will ask my mom if he's allowed to have it. This plan will most likely work, because if she isn't helping my dad persuade Duke, or cleaning up dinner, she's probably balancing her checkbook (being a master of multitasking, she might be doing all three at once).
Checkbook balancing occurred about once a week, because, with five kids, my mom didn't stand a chance of ever keeping cash in her wallet. Therefore, she was once an avid check writer.
Avid is an understatement. She actually tried to write a check at the gas station (it almost worked, too. She's convincing).
Today, though, the Queen of Checks has changed her ways.
Once my mom gave up the practice of check writing, I realized checks really are nearly obsolete. I mean, she didn't go cold turkey, but she's certainly no longer an addict.
Even more obsolete than checks, though, is the need to call to balance your checkbook. It's much easier to log into online banking and look over it quickly.
I'd imagine that my kids will never see me balance a checkbook via the phone, seeing as I've never done it before. It's amazing that something so natural to me growing up will be a completely foreign concept to my children.
But, the more we change, the more we lose sight of the reason we ever did something in the first place.
For example, in 1845, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote. Being an agrarian society, and one that traveled by horse and buggy, schlepping to and from the county seat was quite the pilgrimage. Farmers required a day to get there, a day to vote, and a day to get back.
Of course, under no circumstances could this journey interfere with the three days of worship (separation of church and state? Not yet). So the only possible days were Tuesday and Wednesday.
But, Wednesday was market day. So, the only day left to vote was Tuesday.
It's funny, now, that we still vote on the first Tuesday of November. I'm almost surprised that no one has complained that we still uphold a practice that was created solely to respect worship.
Of course, with so many early voting options, I highly doubt any judge would look twice at their claim.
I, personally, am glad we still vote on Tuesday. Disregarding traditional election day altogether would be like moving Thanksgiving to Saturday. Whether or not it's really necessary to have Thanksgiving on Thursday anymore, moving it would seem sacrilegious. It's important to uphold these traditions because, well, it's just wrong not to (right?).
Whether or not you've spent the last few days worshiping, or still don a horse and buggy to get you to the polls, I hope you're not forced to spend three days voting.
Really, I hope you don't have to spend three hours at the polls either. But, in case you do spend an astronomical amount of time waiting to vote, here are a few things you can do: Read a magazine, make friends with other voters, or, most importantly, balance your checkbook.
If you get confused, call my mom, she'll help you.