Anticipation takes a holiday this year


Is there a more exciting, giddy feeling in the world than anticipating something? Adrenaline builds in the form of hope, uncertainty, excitement, dread, desire or regret — pumping our hearts and administering shivers up and down our spines. It is real. It is raw. It is nearly a form of helplesness that sees our physiological and physical selfs surrender to the emotion of the time.

As a child, I anticipated the miracles and joys of waking up to a bevy of toys under the Christmas tree, and I also anticipated my father walking in the front door in the early evening after my mother had issued the ominous warning earlier in the day, “Just wait until your father gets home.”

Teen years brought anticipation over that pretty girl in the math class who sat in front of me, and anticipation would strangle my small intestine when that math teacher would announce that the latest test was graded and, “Mr. McCann, I need you to stay after class.”

As a journalist, I anticipate elections. Local, national, municipal or school board, elections strike at the very heart of the beauties of human individuality and difference. We love our guy. We hate the other guy. We vote for this person because he or she shares the same opinion on a particular issue, and we vote for this candidate because he or she was really funny on the Letterman show one night.

Elections spark letters to the editor, heated arguments at family’s dinner tables and ideas that could or could not improve the quality of life for all of us. We come together, divide apart and, ultimately, come back together because we have no choice after the dust settles. I love election season.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the cover letter of a fax sitting in my box the other day charged feelings of anticipation throughout my very being. It was from the Sussex County Department of Elections, and it contained the final list of filings for the 2006 general election.


With trembling fingers I turned the page and began rifling through the names of people interested enough in their respective communities to march forth into the wilderness of an election. I scanned right past the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative nominees because I really don’t see Sen. Tom Carper or Rep. Mike Castle falling to anyone in the immediate future.

There we go. The final candidates for the 20th Senatorial District. We have the incumbent, George H. Bunting Jr., and ... nobody? Well, that kind of stinks. The Republicans aren’t putting up anybody against Sen. Bunting?

Fine, we’ll just move on to the 38th Representative District, where incumbent Rep. Gerald Hocker fended off a challenge from former Rep. Shirley Price in a great election in 2004. It was a contest where the two political parties went head-to-head and two well-known, well-respected members of the community discussed their beliefs for the whole area to consider last go-around. Anticipation circled my head like a pack of buzzards in a Road Runner cartoon. Who would be Hocker’s opponent?

Apparently, the same person running against Bunting. Nobody.

Anticipation quickly morphed into sheer panic as I tore through the remaining pages of the fax. Sussex County Council 4th Council District would pit incumbent George B. Cole against ... yup, you guessed it. Nobody. How about Vance Phillips in the 5th Council District? There he is again ... Nobody. Well, actually, he does have an opponent. But he’s from Laurel, too, so what do we care?

Ah, here’s an election. Howard Clendaniel would go against David L. Wilson in a battle for the Register of Wills position.

Well, not a lot of anticipation there.

Ooh, Eric D. Swanson is slated to tackle incumbent Sussex County Sheriff Robert L. Reed for the right to ... well, not do much of anything. Yes, that one is interesting because of the dynamics of Reed’s personality and the constant conversations over the years of a county police force, but reality says pretty clearly that even I could serve a warrant to a person for a failure to appear or get people ticked off on a regular basis. In fact, there was this one time where I so infuriated Susan Lyons that she grabbed ...

But I digress.

In fact, this whole election season is a bit of a digression.