Speakin’ and Sweatin’ on the Square

It was a party at the courthouse on Saturday afternoon in Corinth, Mississippi, for the election-year tradition of speakin’ on the square. In near-100-degree heat, folks hugged the shady spots under trees and awnings as candidates took to the podium and promised … well, all sorts of things.  (One candidate said, “I promise you can always get me on the phone and ask me anything you want. You may not like what I have to say, but I’ll always give you an answer,” which I thought was probably the most honest thing said all day.) Campaign workers manuevered through the crowd, graciously offering water and fans while a trailer from the local BBQ restaurant sold a steady supply of ribs and smoked chicken. It was hot, sweaty and miserable — and we all ate it up. How could you not love an event where folks come up to you and say, “Remember me? We talked in line at Wal-Mart three weeks ago? My uncle’s girlfriend’s cousin is running for office and would really appreciate your vote.” As a dedicated people-watcher and eavesdropper people-listener, I’d hit the jackpot here. What I especially liked was all the wheelin’ and dealin’ going on in the background while the candidates speech-ified. That’s where the stories were. Such as the two men in the photo above right, standing belly-to-belly and intensely discussing … well, they could have been exchanging recipes for all I know (we eavesdroppers do observe some boundaries, you know) or arguing over which sides of the square had the most shade (west and south were generally the top vote-getters) but these two sure seemed to be wrangling with something important. So if you’ve got the chance to vote in an election coming up soon, take it. You wouldn’t want all us Mississippi folks to have sweated in vain.

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