I was an elected councilman in my town (Sempronius, New York) for 18 years. Last November I decided not to run for re-election. But last night the Board asked me if I would serve out the term of another board member who recently passed away. I said yes, of course.
The man I replaced was a retired dairy farmer who had been on the Board more years than me. He was a great guy. But four months to the day after being diagnosed with cancer, he was gone. Our monthly Board meetings won't be the same without him.
So, I was officially "retired" from public service for a little less than three months. Truth be told, I'm glad to be back. But I'm sorry it had to be under such circumstances.
The picture above is of Marlene and me last year. We're sitting where the town board sits for their meetings. But that's not in my town. We're in the board room for the town of Clay, New York, which is a suburb of Syracuse.
Under the table directly in front of us, within easy reach, is a red "panic button." Press the button and the police will be there in no time flat. Such things have become prudent in the culture we live in.
In my small, relatively poor, rural town, the Board sits around an inexpensive, six-foot-long table, in second-hand chairs, in a very plain room, and there is no panic button. We keep it real simple.
Last summer I was at the gas station in town and saw our County Legislator, who I've known for years. He told me he was going to retire, and he asked me if I would be interested in taking his place. He told me he thought I would be a good person for the job. That was nice of him.
But I have no interest in serving in any higher capacity than my local town. Then I would be thought of more as a politician, and I wouldn't want that. The best politics is local, and on the local level, it's really more "public service" than it is politics.