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The Washcloth of Mercy

Canvassing today certainly had its share of serious conversations, including one about how much comfort/complacency a financially successful Black man can have in our society. This, and many of my other conversations these days, included references to Steve Phillips’ How We Win the Civil War.


I also had a lengthy conversation with a woman from Colombia, who said the violence in her country, after improving for a few years, is worsening again, and she is desperately trying to get her parents to come to the US. We bonded over childhood memories I have of my parents trying to arrange the immigration of my mother’s siblings.


Another immigrant I spoke with was so inspired by Florida Senate Candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s story that he decided to change his registration so he could vote for her in the Democratic primary.


But a unique and memorable event involved a washcloth...


It’s been hot while canvassing for quite a few weeks now, but recently the humidity has added a new dimension. What that means is that my clothes are soggy, and my face is dripping - that's just how I look walking around. People often offer me a bottle of water, and I thank them for their kindness, but tell them I have plenty of water in my car, and that I fill and chill two bottles per day so that I always do. Today, either I canvassed especially kind people, or I looked especially hot, because almost every person I spoke to offered me water. And I appreciated it but gave them my usual response.


One lady, after offering me water, offered me a cool cloth for my face. The thought of how good that would feel made me unable to resist, and she gave me a washcloth dampened with cool water. The relief was amazing. I told her I would never forget her kindness, and I mean it.


From now on, I’ll add a washcloth to the cooler bag where I keep my water, but each time I see it, or use it, I’ll remember the lady who went beyond the offer of water, and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

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