Now that the election is over and I can say whatever I want to the candidates, I only have one thing to say.
I am specifically directing those thanks to Jenny Hunt and Pat Marsh. I know them both, like them both, and wasn't eligible to vote for either because I live in a different district. But no matter who won, they both showed far more class than other candidates on state and national levels. Instead of spending their money telling us what a horrible job the other would do or had done, they simply told us what they would do.
It was refreshing, to say the least, and it was how campaigns should always be run.
I'd also like to thank anyone running for public office for taking part in the procedure, for wanting to make a difference instead of just griping about the status quo. There isn't any other job that comes under as much fire from so many different sides unless it's being a UT football coach, a wedding editor or the poor schmuck at the DMV.
There's a great song from "Chicago." It didn't make it past the cutting room floor in the movie but it is on the sound track and it's called "Whatever Happened to Class." (I'd print the lyrics, but they wander over into the "R" arena here and there ..."
But the title sums it up. Whatever happened to class? Whatever happened to manners?
I was at the benefit concert for Charlie Louvin last weekend. It was packed wall-to-wall with country and bluegrass fans, there to see Charlie, Valerie Smith and Alison Krauss, as well as the many other über-talented musicians who filled the stage that night. The audience ages ran from 2 months old to more than 90 years, and by the time it came for Charlie to take the stage himself, it was standing room only. The seating was first come, first seated, and there were many young men and women in the chairs.
I was hiding out on the porch -- the Bell Buckle banquet hall has an amazing sound system and I could actually hear the performance better outside than in and I could peek through the window and catch glimpses of the performers now and then.
There was another lady sitting out there, older than I and obviously not in the best of health. A middle aged man came out on to the porch to join us, grab some fresh air, and, I strongly suspect, refresh the mysterious amber liquid in his cup. He nodded and smiled at the older woman.
"Out here for a breather?" he asked.
"No," she said. "They ran out of chairs."
The man drew himself up and frowned.
"No ma'am," he said. "They didn't run out of chairs.
"They ran out of gentlemen."
Within minutes, he had gone back inside and found a place for the lady to sit.
Not an hour later, I saw a similar scene, when another man, even younger, was sitting outside with his pretty young date. An elderly couple came out and the husband shuffled off to bring the car closer. As soon as it stopped, the young man jumped to his feet, ran to the elderly woman's side, and helped her get in the car.
I sat back -- I'd been about to get up and do the same, but youth and beauty beat out old age and rusty knees -- and smiled.
"I love living in the South," I said out loud.
I do -- and it has nothing to do with the fact that I was sitting outside on Oct. 30 in a light sweater and jeans instead of a parka and earmuffs.
Okay, maybe it has a little do with that ...
I love the fact that we raise our younguns right, to say "Please" and "Thank you" and "Yes ma'am" and "No ma'am."
My best friend once told me a story about her daughter being punished by a Yankee teacher who thought the girl was being a smart-aleck because she said "Yes ma'am."
"Well, we're going to have a problem, then," said my friend to the teacher. "Because you're going to punish her if she says yes ma'am -- and I'm going to punish her if she doesn't!"
So Miz Hunt, ma'am, and Mr. Marsh, sir, thank you both so much for restoring a little class and manners to an arena that hasn't seen either in far too long.
-- Mary Reeves is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.