WILSON: This could be Arnold’s year

“I saw the first sign of spring just the other day,” Arnold Tobin muttered quietly, as he pushed his full belly back from the big, round table occupying the middle of Sarah’s Diner.

Folks living around the “Center of the Universe” are always eager to catch a glimpse of that first tell-tale sign of winter’s demise for one of two reasons — either they have had enough of the drifting snow and frigid cold, or they haven’t had enough of the ski slopes and snowmobile trails. One group wants to break out the bikini wax and the other bunch wants a few more chances to wax skis.

“Did you see a robin?” asked Mort. “I think it’s still a bit too early for that.”

“Do you have crocuses trying to pop up in your front yard?” asked Harry. “It’s probably just left over crabgrass.”

“Did you see a groundhog wearing sunglasses?” asked Jimmy. “I can’t remember, is it six more weeks of winter or a month and a half until spring?”

“Have you been tracking the temperature trends and come to the realization that the daytime highs from several weeks ago are now equal to the nighttime lows?” asked Tommy Jones (knowing full well that no one else at the table had a clue as to what he was talking about).

“Nope,” answered Arnold to all of their inquiries. “I saw a political ad for a candidate running in the primary election. That’s a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.”

“That used to be a good sign that spring was on the way,” grumbled Harry. “But, it doesn’t work that way anymore. The politicians didn’t migrate south for the winter this year. They stayed right here and kept ruffling their feathers.”

“And they ruffled everyone else’s feathers, too,” grumbled Jimmy. “It’s a mess. I’ve been looking for the first sign of sanity in our government, but I think it’s an endangered species — gone the same way as common sense, compromise, and gracious Academy Awards acceptance speeches.”

“That’s why I think I have a good chance at winning this time,” Arnold said with a grin the size of a ‘Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco’ sign. “I think this is the year my message will resonate with the voters.”

Arnold was pleased with himself for having used the word “resonate” properly — the thesaurus he purchased at Goodwill was finally paying off.

“Do you need a campaign manager?” asked Big John Hudson. “I can schedule photo-ops where you can kiss hands and shake babies.”

“What office are going to run for, this time?” asked Harry. “I’d vote for you against any other unqualified candidate.”

Arnold didn’t want to mess with the paperwork (or expense) required to run an official campaign.

“I’m still going to run a write-in campaign for whatever office the voters think I will do the least damage,” he said.

He was firm on his stance to not take sides, not break anything and not fix anything. With each election, his campaign pledge has always been, “Things may be bad, but I promise to not make them any worse.”

This just might be the year that someone finally casts a vote for Arnold Tobin.

Larry Wilson  is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. He can be reached at wflw@hotmail.com.

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