Pinky promises are not allowed from candidates

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Commentary by Clif Lusk

The Ponderosa now stands silent for the better part of the day. I realized this Monday morning around 7:00 a.m. when – all of a sudden – I was alone in my home.

May Morgan, Caitie Bug, and the Ninja Princess had all loaded up in the FSV with Momma and had struck out toward school. (Some folks have SUVs, we have a family support vehicle.)

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Bubba was standing on the sidewalk out front awaiting his ride to junior high school, driven by our neighbor who’s a teacher. They vacated Pine Street promptly at 7:15 a.m.

There I was, all alone – unless you count the pile of clean clothes on the dining room table that I swear was breathing and rooting around a little.

It was all quiet, and I’d have to admit a bit lonesome. The neighborhood looked damp, dark and quiet without the smiling faces of the Pine Street Gang, which allows as members those who live close to Pine on Walnut and College streets.

But they have to be really close, so I’m told.

It was this group, mostly girls, that have taught me a few lessons this summer.

Kids, if you take time to do more listening than talking, will really give you some lessons on life, living, love and friendship.

The oldest member is about 14 years old. She’s not the mother hen of the bunch but between Audrey and Clifton, they pretty much keep the rest out of trouble.

I think they really plot against the adults, trying play one side of the street against the other.

“Go ask your mom if its OK to do thus-and-so,” is pretty typical.

“I’m not. But Daddy’ll let me,” is the usual reply.

Daddy usually does, too.

They seem to work it all out and can disappear into a back yard for an eternity on a good day.

Their play is usually loosely monitored by the grown-ups and nobody’s come home with more than a stumped toe or scrapped knee so far.

Except for the time when N.P. made a “pinky promise” not to interfere with her older sister for 10 days, their disputes are handled amongst themselves.

On that particular case, I was called upon to judge whether N.P. had to keep her promise (which hadn’t lasted 10 minutes at this point).

There was N.P., as usual, bawling her eyes out.

“What’s wrong,” I inquired.

“I made a pinky promise not to bother Caitie and Ellie for 10 days but I want to play with them,” is what I finally got from the hysterical four-year old.

Court soon followed on that question of enforceability and prudence.

“Well, she made the promise Dad,” said Caitie Bug, relishing the moment the old hammer would fall across N.P.’s little noggin.

“Did you?”

“Uh-huuuuh (sniffle),” was her reply.

“Case closed,” opined Caitie.

Not so, I declared.

As I seized the opportunity to discuss taking advantage of one another, promise keeping and fussin’ in general, I began to understand why my father never was not very judicial with my own three sisters – a man can’t win.

My point made its way into Caitie’s head, but careened off Mary Lacy’s. The Ninja Princess does not take orders from a mere judge. All three were back to fussin’ in no time flat.

What I pointed out was that people ought not make promises they can’t keep and they shouldn’t expect a promise to be made that’s unrealistic.

That’s not too unlike the real world we adults deal in every day – especially when it comes to politics.

I haven’t heard very many promises made out there on the campaign trail. What I’ve heard has been allusion to promises.

While I don’t expect unrealistic promises to be made by our candidates – whether they are mayoral or not – I do expect, as I’m sure the average voter does, some concrete plans of action to be laid out before the public.

Mayoral candidates in Demopolis have had ample opportunity to do so. Two public forums and a host of civic clubs have all provided the pulpit, but nothing any more than pleasantries have been offered.

That translates into sixty-some-odd percent of the voters in the city being undecided less than two weeks from the election.

That’s pathetic. If 60 percent are undecided, chances are that voter turnout will reach a new all-time low. That’s even more pathetic.

The candidates must somehow convince the voters not only to support them, but to get up and support someone.

That’s not going to happen unless the candidates make it happen by offering concrete action plans. Now’s the time to do it, too.

Demopolis needs a mayor who’s willing to ruffle the feathers, challenge conventional wisdom and inspire others to follow us (Demopolis, that is).

And there won’t be any pinky promises accepted this go-around.