A Roller Coaster Week
The morning routine has been the same for years. Up at 5:45, read The Frederick News Post cover-to-cover, and finish the front section in time to put it on the dining room table before my oldest daughter, Morgan, came upstairs to get ready to go to work.
This little ritual, as most of these things are, had become such a normal part of the daily schedule that it just seemed to happen automatically. Last Monday, everything started exactly the same way.
After quickly scanning the front section (yes, I always look at the editorial letters to see if I’m being attacked), I walked to the dining room table, gently folded the paper, and set it carefully at the place Morgan always sits to eat her breakfast.
As I walked back to the living room, it dawned on me that Morgan wouldn’t be coming upstairs that morning, or any other morning. You see, my beloved daughter, my first child, was no longer Morgan Weldon. She had gotten married to a very special young man on Saturday, and they were off on their honeymoon.
Sinking back into the sofa, my eyes filled with tears, the first time in the whole week of preparation and the actual wedding and reception that emotion took over. After a few quiet moments, and after getting my emotions back in check, my eyes wandered to the hallway that separates the living room from the upstairs bedrooms.
That hallway is lined with dozens of pictures of our kids, all taken at various stages of their lives. Smiles missing teeth, faces framed by childhood hairdos long abandoned, and eyes full of wonder and excitement for a world of fun and discovery unencumbered by responsibility and life’s burdens.
Glancing up and seeing a collage of photos of Morgan, pictures of her adorable little face surrounding her high school graduation scene, I started to cry again. It’s weird how this emotion hits you.
You know she’s happy as she begins her new life as a wife and partner. You know that she’s just as safe as you were ever to make her. You know that she is where she really wants to be.
Guess you’d call them happy/sad tears. Sad because her grace, dignity, and peaceful nature are not going to be a part of the regular Weldon daily mix. Happy that she gets to open a new chapter in her life story, that – out of two very different families – a new family has emerged.
I’m still going to miss seeing her everyday, but at least there are those pictures in the hall and 24 years of great memories to fall back on.
With all of the excitement surrounding the wedding preparation, I had neglected one important detail in my political life.
The all-important filing deadline for the 2006 election was fast approaching, and this delegate had yet to file.
The process of filing candidacy for a state office is a little more involved than for a local one. State and federal candidates are required to file at the state Board of Elections office in Annapolis. Local candidates can file in the elections office in the basement of Winchester Hall.
The filing deadline for all candidates is at 9 P.M. today. After finishing all of the wedding details, I found myself staring a deadline no more than five working days away.
Solace came in the fact that no other candidate had filed for the delegate seat in District 3B. The danger in taking solace in that apparent lack of interest would prove itself in less than 24 hours.
So, last Thursday Amy and I drove to Annapolis. We spent a leisurely day in the Capitol City, dining at Chick-n-Ruth’s Delly on Main Street (our favorite lunch spot), afterward taking a stroll down to and around City Dock.
It was the first time in years that I spent a day in Annapolis without going to either the State House or to my office in the Lowe House Office Building.
On our way out of town, we stopped at the Elections Board headquarters on West Street. As I walked through the double doors into the office, I was reminded of this same trip four years before.
This time, though, I had allowed myself to fall into a very dangerous sense of comfort in the fact that no opponent had emerged to challenge for the seat.
One thing many of us do is check the state Board of Elections website every morning and afternoon the week of the filing deadline. It was during a similar search on Friday morning that I discovered that I now had a primary challenge.
The opponent seemed to come out of nowhere (Montgomery County, to be exact). He had run against Sen. Jennie Forehand (D., Rockville) in 2002. He apparently moved to Brunswick since then, took up residence, and decided I might be an easier target than Senator Forehand.
Well, I think he’ll find that not to be the case! I’m reminded of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s admonition to his carrier air group commander following the attack on Pearl Harbor: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
I’m awake, engaged, and firing up the campaign machine. Not only can I defend my work, I’m proud to be able to do so! The whistle you hear in the background is the steam engine at the head of the Common Sense Express, heading out for another District 3B campaign. ALL ABOARD!