Was I still awake? Hecks yes I was, wide awake and doing the happy dance to the sparkly celebratory fireworks shooting off in my brain.
In fact I'd been bounding up the stairs to announce to Tom the latest and last update to the news that we'd both been approach-avoiding all night: the results of the Alabama Senate race,
"Want to hear the latest?" I'd call out to the kitchen to Tom, who didn't want to hear.
"No, I don't want to hear," he'd call back before meandering into the family room just to have a quick peek at the returns. "Moore's still ahead. Just great," he'd sigh before returning to the kitchen. "Moore's gonna win," he'd then call from the kitchen, "I don't want to know any more."
At 10:00, the last counties - Hale, Dallas and Chambers - still not in (Hale, Dallas, Chambers, Hale Dallas, Chambers, Hale, Dallas, Chambers, I must have checked those counties fifty times in the last half hour of the race), Tom said, "I'm going to bed. I really don't want to know anymore." He popped downstairs only once about 10 minutes later, by which time Dallas was the only unannounced county and the race was tied at Moore 49.5, Jones 49.5.
"Tom, look" I said softly in disbelief, "Dallas County is in the heart of Blue territory. Jones could win this."
"Or Dallas could come in Red. Or it could come in Blue but without enough votes to pull off a definitive win for Jones. I'm really going to bed now."
Over the next twenty minutes the percentage of votes counted in Dallas county ticked up, up, up, until at 10:30 the race was called for Doug Jones. Claire immediately texted me and I called her right back.
"I have to tell Dad," I bubbled to Claire, "then I have to text Tommy and Emily and Theresa and Callie! And Maria in Los Angeles, somebody has to call Maria! Do you want to call your sister?"
"You can call her, Mom," Claire chuckled, graciously ceding to me my right as family Matriarch.
So it was my happy prerogative to share the late-night good news with my loved ones, some of whom already knew it.
How funny this is, I thought, as we all exulted in the outcome of this election, it's like re-living last year's election, but on the flip side; by this time on November 8 of last year I knew already that Trump had won the election, and an evening that started out with happy expectation ended with numbing shock and despondency. And now this night a year later that began with a dull sense of despondency has ended with a joyful shock of celebration and hope.
"What are you doing?" I asked my daughter Maria who on L.A. time was three hours ahead of us. I could hear the bouncy prattle of my grand children in the background.
"Putting the kids to bed," she said.
"Have you heard the news on the Alabama election?"
"No," she said somberly. "I've avoided looking at the news all day. I figured tomorrow would be soon enough."
"Jones won," I told her.
"No," she replied.
"Yes," said I.
"No!" she cried.
"Yes!" I cried, "Doug Jones won!" The bigoted, homophobic, white supremacist, Bible-thumping, lying, child-molester wouldn't have a seat or a say in the Senate.
"Wow," said my daughter, "wow."
She wanted me to stay on the line while she called my son-in-law, who was still at work, so that we could both surprise him with the election results.
The good news duly shared once again, I said to my daughter, "Now you can get back to putting the kids to bed."
"I was putting the kids to bed," she joked, "but now I have to party!"
Thank you, Alabama. Thank you.
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