Tuesday, July 24, 2012

stuffing baskets instead of ballot boxes

Wow!  Talk about a stroll down Nostalgia Lane.

When I visited my mother in Bend in May, I noticed this photograph in a place of honor on her book case.  And treasure it she does.

I like to think it is because I am in it.  And, of course, that is true -- to a degree.  But it is also there because it includes one of her heroes -- and friends.

The year is 1988.  The scene is Milwaukie, Oregon.

I was on the campaign trail in my one and only incarnation as a candidate (if we ignore my 1984 candidacy as a presidential elector).  It was the year I killed Steven R. Cotton and invented Steve Cotton. 

You can tell by the cheesy smile, the sweater, and the omnipresent campaign button that I am either a candidate for the people -- or an alien.  Only now do I notice the possibility of being Jimmy Carter's doppelgänger.

All candidates need celebrity endorsements -- in the vain hope that some voter will be bamboozled into voting for a candidate merely because a star shows up for a publicity shot. 

I had the usual list of endorsements from community leaders and politicians.  But the photograph memorializes a meeting that was unique during the campaign.

For those of you who are not sports-minded, that is Richard Washington and his wife, Leiko.  He is one of Portland's home-grown basketball stars. 

Born in Portland.  NCAA MVP while playing center (at 6' 11" what else would he play?) for UCLA in the 1970s.  Six seasons of professional play with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Kansas City Kings.

My mother is a huge basketball fan.  During the season, the Portland Trailblazers dominate her television set.  If you want to know anything about the team, she can -- and will -- tell you. 

Mom came by her love for basketball naturally.  Her hometown, Powers (a place you will soon hear more about), was a basketball powerhouse when she was in high school.

And it was through her that I met Richard and Leiko.  She knew them both as real estate clients and as friends.  Leiko and Mom attended church together.  I am not certain when she decided Richard would be a great asset to my campaign.  But, she did.  And he was.

After Mom introduced me to them, they graciously showed me around the house.  Joking about how houses can be logistical nightmares when you are almost seven feet tall.  I have to admit, it is a bit difficult for me to empathize with the problem.

But we had a great night of swapping stories.  At the close of the evening, he happily endorsed me for my legislative run.

Not all of my campaign memories are that pleasant.  But this one is stored away with the pleasant memories of my benighted youth.

If you are wondering, I lost the election by a few votes after waiting for a week of ballot counts.  That explains why Richard has a Wikipedia entry -- the true contemporary measure of a celebrity -- and I have none.

But I thank Richard for his support -- and his friendship with my mother.  And the voters of my district for saving me from a fate worse than death.


Mommy with Commuter Husband said...

Have you written about this election before? If so, can you repost link? If not, how about another post down memory lane? You have referenced this election several times and I am now curious ...

Steve Cotton said...

It is such ancient history, I seldom think about it.   But it may be a good tale -- for the future.

Donna Root said...

You mean you assassinated Steven R. Cotton.  Now I know what your dreams meant, old buddy.

Steve Cotton said...

Good point.

Jerry Reeves said...

POWERS?????, can not wait to hear.

Kim G said...

Maybe it's time to create your own Wikipedia entry. You've certainly got the time and the writing skill. And since the material must be verifiable on the web, you can use your blog as the source for much of this information.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we don't have a Wikipedia entry either.

Steve Cotton said...

I never thought about doing one.  But, of course, I could.  Blogger about town and all of that type of stuff and nonsense.  If I remember correctly, Andee managed to get her blog into the Chacala entry.

But, right, now I am reading about your home town in Michael Pearl's latest -- The Technologists.

Steve Cotton said...

But you already know it all.

John Calypso said...

I suspect losing that election was a good thing for you; and not for the voters.