From Province House to Home by Leo Glavine
As I review and reflect upon Campaign 2013, there were a number of heartening and heart-warming gifts that came my way. Even in the midst of 30 hectic days, a candidate can have rich and rewarding experiences that will be memorable. Even for those who engage in only one door-to-door campaign, there remains a treasury of people, their conversations and a time to share in their hopes and dreams.
The first homes I visited in the campaign were in Berwick and at my side was Ben Brown. I met Ben two weeks after his catastrophic ATV accident that left him a paraplegic. Our paths crossed often, as his life needs changed dramatically; I was able to assist, and now, I was the recipient of his help. Ben’s rise to becoming a nationally rated para -athlete was known by many and his affable manner was welcomed at the doorstep. His motivation and positive attitude was a gift to my campaign journey.
Have you ever stopped to really listen and not just talk to a veteran? In each of my four campaigns, I have taken time to listen to a veteran. In campaign 2009, I listened to 90-year-old Robert Woodworth of South Berwick from the rooftop of his home as he was doing some repairs. This September, and now 94, I visited him in his living room and he was eager to show me a photo of his Second World War unit. A long story followed with sufficient inspiration for a week’s campaigning. I thanked him for the gift of being able to run for public office and freedoms we too often take for granted - like the right to vote.
I caught up with Laura Legge-Best, one of my former students from West Kings days, at her second book launch in the East Dalhousie Community Centre. Laura works in the Christmas tree industry, but her passion is taking a past, real-life story, and fashioning an “I can’t put it down” novel. Her joyful spirit and light-up-the-room smile that I discovered years ago were present on that day in the community hall. Her latest work, Flying With A Broken Wing, is funny, captivating and ringing with sincerity that will stay with the reader long after the last page. When time permits, it will be my first read and a reprieve from another document or report. Well done, Laura, and I thank you for that special reconnecting gift in the campaign.
In each campaign I have met a group of people, who I call “Heroes in the Home.” These are the mothers and fathers who have kept a mentally-challenged person from birth to adulthood at home and are an integral part of family life. This time, I met at least three sons and daughters who had left work to be with their palliative parent. However, there was no moment more heart-wrenching than to have been invited by a parent for a brief visit with their child, who they will lose to cancer. There are my heroes. I thanked each family for their gift of inspiration and for allowing me to witness family love in action. Breaking the campaign rule, “stay at the door step,” has always brought a reward much greater than a possible vote.
I considered each conversation at the door, in the nursing home, in schools, in homes for special care and on the street as a unique opportunity to foster trust with constituents. So I thank the 4,000 plus I met in Campaign 2013 for your gift of hospitality, chats, ideas and challenges to work for a better Nova Scotia.