Every Four Years

06 Sep

*Special Note:

This is not about politics.

My father was what I’d call a news junkie.  He’d arrive home from work a little after four o’clock.  From that point until seven our family watched the news.  That was three hours of news, Monday through Friday.

Let me be clear.  I didn’t want to watch three hours of news.  This was in the olden days.  Families only had one television set.

Maybe that explains why I enjoyed reading as a pastime.

I will admit I did watch more than my fair share of the news.  I can only be grateful this was before CNN, Headline News, Fox News, or MSNBC.  I would never have seen anything else.

I remember watching my first Republican National Convention.  It was the summer of 1964.  My father was old-school.  He was the man of the house; therefore, he was master of the television.  My family watched the convention together.  I don’t remember my father voicing his opinion on the candidates.  We simply watched and listened.  The party nominated Barry Goldwater of Arizona as the candidate.  He chose William Miller of Western New York as his running mate.  I was a child, and…impressed by how beautiful their families were.

The Democrats held their convention the following month in Atlantic City.  I’ll never forget Robert Kennedy standing in front of the crowd and the thunderous applause which greeted him.  It went on for twelve minutes.  I remember wiping tears from my eyes.  I don’t remember what he said.  I only remember my emotion.  My father didn’t voice his opinion.

In 1968 we repeated the process.  We watched both conventions.  We listened, and my father never voiced an opinion.

In 1972, I was much too busy to watch any coverage, but by 1976 I was settled.  It’s hard to break ingrained patterns.  I was raised to watch both conventions.

It wasn’t until recently I realized my father’s gift.  He wanted us to have the opportunity to check out the candidates, listen to the issues, and to think for ourselves, without any outside influence.

Here is the bigger idea.  It wasn’t just about politics.  It was about life.  He wanted us to be informed, productive citizens.  He believed in equity.  “If you do for one, you need to do for the other.”  “One” was my older sister, I was the “other.”  I don’t know which one of us was his favorite, and that’s a good thing.

Think about everything that went on beneath the surface with him?  It would be interesting trying to create him as a character.  I missed the opportunity to discover what created this man who believed so intensely in equity.  My father died in 2000.  I can only be thankful for the gifts he gave me.


Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Idaho


17 responses to “Every Four Years

  1. lizkflaherty

    September 6, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    This is very nice, and what a great gift he gave you.

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was an incredible gift.

  2. Janis

    September 6, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    It must have been difficult for him to keep his counsel. Most parents want to get their kids on the “right” track when it comes to opinions. In a book, he would make a great mentor!

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      When I look back I an see how difficult it must have been for him. I am more impressed with how fair he tried to be.

  3. johannaharness

    September 6, 2012 at 6:29 AM

    I love reading about your family, Lynn. Thanks for posting this.

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Johanna, family plays a central role in my stories. I am typical of many, I took these people for granted. I don’t take it for granted now.

  4. Judith Keim

    September 6, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    Lynn, what a lovely tribute to your father. It takes a great person to hold back opinions to allow others to develop theirs. I would have liked your father!!

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      My father was an interesting man, more complex than I realized. I am now able to see he was a complex person. He didn’t finish junior high. His grandfather fell ill and he needed to work to farm. His parents split up when he was a child and his grandfather raised him. Grandpa Adam owned a lot of land and was well off. My father told us one day he went into town and got a bike. He told the store owner his grandfather told him to come in an pick out a bike. The store owner knew Grandpa Adam and knew he’d be good for it. The store owner let him take the bike home. Grandpa Adam let him keep the bike. My dad was spoiled, but responsible when his family needed him. Interesting.

  5. Clarissa Southwick

    September 6, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Great tribute to your Dad, Lynn. He would be proud of you 🙂

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      Thank you, Clarissa. I would like to think so.

  6. stephanieberget

    September 6, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    My husband had this discussion last night after we watched Bill Clinton. Now, I’m not a Bill Clinton fan, but that was some speech. We both remembered watching both conventions and thinking how important they were. We watched both because my mom was one party and my dad was the other. Too bad people today don’t come away with the feeling of importance. Your dad sounds wonderful.

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      Steph, I was really annoyed the conventions were so late this year. School started last week, so I was brain dead. I will admit I didn’t see enough of the Republican Convention as I would have liked. I was too pooped to pop. I tuned in during the Clint Eastwood presentation. He sounded angry, and I couldn’t watch him talk to the empty chair. The time won’t be a issue for me in 2016. I’ll be retired. I like to watch both. My father trained me well.
      Last night my youngest son talked to me after Clinton’s speech and he talked about one of the speeches at the Republican Convention. He’d watched them both. I didn’t realize I have carried on the family tradition.

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:27 PM

      It was a good speech.

  7. maryvine

    September 6, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I loved reading this, Lynn. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much. I wish we could have a holiday called, “No Outrage Day.”

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 6, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      Mary, I like that idea.

  8. Peggy Staggs

    September 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Families are so important. You’re lucky to have had a good one.

    • Lynn Mapp

      September 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      Peggy, families are sooo complicated. They bring rich texture to our lives.


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