In 1976, on one of the first few days of November, I drove to my family's home on Station Creek. I had been to see Dr. Wilcox and other medical professionals in Salt Lake City. After experiencing many extended hospitalization periods and having been extremely ill for years, I was ecstatic. The doctors could find no evidence of the cancer that had plagued me. The tumors were gone! The prognosis was excellent. This was the most exhilarating news of my life. I could not have been in a better mood. I don't remember what the weather was like on that day. Maybe it was overcast and stormy but to me it was a beautiful sunny day. That day, before leaving the hospital, I met Orin Hatch, who was running for a U.S. Senate seat. I was so impressed with him that I said I would vote for him if I was a Utah resident.
The following day was Tuesday after the first Monday (election day). I was a registered voter. I felt well enough to cast my ballot. So, off toward the ballot box I went. Because of the lack of public buildings, our polling place was in the Mink Creek church. Vera Jensen and all of the other election officials greeted me as I went to the Relief Society room to vote in my first ever presidential election. This was also the first election following the Watergate scandal.
Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were the major candidates for President. Some other minor parties were also on the Idaho ballot. Included was the communist party and its presidential candidate by the name of Gus Hall.
On my way to vote that day, I mulled over the candidates and the election process. I knew the following: 1) In Franklin County and the state of Idaho, the most conservative candidate would carry the day. 2) Only major party's candidates would receive votes from the Mink Creek precinct and all of Franklin County. 3) The Preston Citizen would print final results for the county and for each individual precinct. 4) The system had to be checked out by me. Voting is a very private and confidential matter and no one would know who voted for whom. I just had to vote for Gus.
It happened! Gus received one vote. The Citizen reported that the vote came from Mink Creek. It was one of a handful of votes in the entire state.
In church the next Sunday, the conversation centered on Jimmy Carter winning, however, who in Mink Creek (or the entire United States) could have voted for Gus? Every time greetings were exchanged, one would wonder.
“Was it him or her who voted for Gus? The entire community has been disgraced. Who is this despicable communist?”
For decades we've silently accused each other. So fellow citizens, after 43 years, rest easy. It was really not mean spirited, but with jovial aspirations that I voted for Gus Hall. Can you forgive me?
C Kevin Olson