A visit embedded in my mind for ever
One of the few things that persons involved with different political parties can agree on is that canvassing is a fundamental component of any election campaign. Fortunately for us in Bermuda, social norms dictate that candidates visit the persons that they would like to represent.
No fancy television advertisement or social-media campaign will ever replace knocking on doors and talking face-to-face with the people of Bermuda.
More often than not, when one goes out to canvass, they will be faced with any number of challenges:
• No one at home
• Hot weather
• Cold weather
• Voters unreceptive to their respective political party
• Unleashed dogs
Yet through it all, the canvassers must stick to their goals if they wish to make progress. Sometimes one can be out for up to three hours and see as few as three persons. Other times, one may be out for an hour and see ten.
Then there are times that you may be out and meet that one person or family that reaffirms why you are out walking up and down the streets of Bermuda.
Over the past month or so, we have spent considerable time in Constituency 2, St George’s West, which stretches from Somers Playhouse west to the tip of Ferry Reach. One of the main areas of C2 is Wellington Back Road, which overlooks Wellington Oval.
Many of the persons living on the road are related by blood or marriage, and, as such, form an extremely close-knit community where neighbours literally look in on one another’s yards to ensure that everyone and everything is safe and sound.
Long before WhatsApp, they developed their own form of “social-media alerts” and community blasts.
On one particular day, we knocked on a gentleman’s door. Before we could announce ourselves, we heard: “Well, it took you long enough to reach here, since you were at Mrs Burgess’s house almost an hour ago!”
As the door opened, we were met by a smiling face and hearty, yet friendly, slaps on the back given to us by Kenneth “Kenny” Fray, who is a living legend in many social and sporting circles.
He invited us into his home and sat us down in his impeccably kept living room, filled with pictures and objects important to Mr Fray.
After discussing his concerns and updating his contact information, he led us on a short tour of his mini-museum. On one wall, there was a picture of his time in the Bermuda Militia in the 1950s. Amazingly enough, I was able to spot the very same barrack room in which I was stationed in the 1980s.
Another treasured piece was a framed newspaper clipping of him during his days as captain and wicketkeeper for Southampton Rangers when he dismissed Wilbur “Bullcat“ Pitcher, of St David’s, for a duck — bowled by the legendary Timmy Edwards.
One could sense the immense pride and joy that he had during those time periods of his life. It was indeed a pleasure to meet him and hear his life stories. That visit will be firmly embedded in my mind for ever.
For all those who would say that politics is a dirty game and brings out the worst in people, I would concur somewhat.
However, it is when we get to sit down and listen to elders tell us their life adventures that we realise that politics in Bermuda, at its very core, is truly about Bermudians.
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