Playing ball is more fun than watching it. Thus, I was pleased to spend Thursday evening at a candidate forum here close at the local county seat in Brookville rather than watching the little faux "debate" with Kerry and Bush. Ours was scheduled first, and I certainly rate it more important.
Meet the Candidates was sponsored by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Democrat and Republican women's groups. We probably had 100 people in attendance, by my guessing, largely candidates' families. It was held at the Schilling Center, right next to the remains of our old grandstand that was recently placed in the historic registry, and burned down just the day before. That's a danged shame.
Old home politics in Brookville always feels just a little bit warm and cozy. I'm not sure quite what all the neighbors think of that third party guy up on the hill, but some of them have known me and/or the family for all my life.
Indeed, the event was being run by Lois Clark. I hadn't seen her in many years, but she remembers feeding me lollipops as a wee lad.
Others naturally asked about my father, Howard Barger. After 40 years in business, the old man's a pretty popular fellow about town. That's a pretty good association for my benefit.
On the other hand, I might also inherit the karma of my delightfully cranky late uncle Helmuth Fields. Let's just say that Slick Fields was the bane of local Democrat politicians- and not necessarily that popular with some of the Republicans. Uncle Bud was something of a role model for me. Now he's gone to that great county commissioner's meeting in the sky.
Anyway, this event was open for every candidate who is on a Franklin County ballot. Turns out that I was the only federal candidate who showed up, so that definitely put me first at the podium.
This was interesting, because there were no guidelines given. I had no clue how long I was supposed to speak. They just pretty much called me up, and handed me the mic. I was aiming for not over five minutes, as there's a room full of candidates. I'm guessing at that though, and they starting to wave at me from the back after what I'm guessing was three minutes or so. I ranted for a minute about Congress ripping off Social Security money. I sat down.