A year before Hubby ran for Sheriff for the first time, we were at a law enforcement conference in Seattle.
One morning Hubby and I had had breakfast in the dining room of the hotel, and then he left to go to his first session. I lingered, drinking my coffee and reading a newspaper since I didn’t have anything planned until later in the morning. The dining room quickly cleared out as all the other attendees also left for their first sessions and most of the spouses left too. The woman at the table next to me ended up being practically the only person left in the dining room besides me. We noticed each other about the same time, and commented on the fact that we were both newspaper-reading, coffee-drinking “lingerers”.
We got to chatting and the subject of running for office naturally came up (since the majority of attendees at the conferences are elected officials). Her husband was the sheriff in a large city in a western state. I had already noticed “Mr. Sheriff” because he was handsome, tall and slim with a mustache and salt and pepper hair. He looked exactly like what you would picture a sheriff looking like! And he definitely stood out in a crowd, even of other sheriffs, because he always wore cowboy boots, a well-tailored suit and a Stetson and walked with a self-assured swagger. He was the prototypical old west sheriff.
“Mrs. Sheriff” was not nearly as imposing a figure. She was just a very friendly short, slim, cute redhead. And I especially liked her because she acted very interested when I told her that my husband was getting ready to run for sheriff in our county for the first time. She then began to tell me about her husband’s first run. It was obviously one of her favorite memories.
She said he was the lesser known, under-funded candidate and no one really gave him a chance to win. But the two of them decided that he might lose, but it wouldn’t be because they hadn’t tried. So they worked harder than they had ever worked in their lives on that campaign. They made their garage “campaign central” where they made their own signs, and and even designed and printed their own flyers to pass out to voters and volunteers. And in the end, to just about everyone’s surprise, “Mr. Sheriff” won!
By the time “Mrs. Sheriff” finished telling me the story of her and her husband beating the odds and using long hours of hard work and dedication to achieve that “impossible” win, I was thrilled for them. What a great story! And it inspired me to think, “That’s the kind of dedication we need to have for Hubby’s campaign!” She also went on to give me some very practical tips she had learned about running a campaign. Before we left the dining room, I told her how much I appreciated talking to her and hearing her story and that it had been an inspiration to me.
These law enforcement conferences are very large, so it’s not surprising that we didn’t run into each other face-to-face again, although we did see each other across a large room a few days later and waved.
Even though Mrs. Sheriff and I never talked again, that conversation we had was one of the highlights of that conference for me. Her enthusiasm was infectious.
Now, fast forward to the next year and the next annual law enforcement conference in another city.
Hubby was by that time in the midst of his run for the sheriff’s office here, and I was hoping to see “Mrs. Sheriff” again because I knew she would be interested in how we had applied some of the suggestions she had given me the previous year, and I was sure she would be pleased to realize what an impact our conversation had had on me.
On the first day of check-in, I was sitting in the lobby with some other members of our state’s delegation and noticed Mr. Sheriff come through the door into the lobby, but walking through the door arm in arm with him wasn’t “Mrs. Sheriff”, but a tall, beautiful, voluptuous blonde. Later I heard through the grapevine (gossip knows no speed limits, no matter how large the gathering) that he had dumped his long-time wife for the young blonde, who was now his wife.
What a disappointment. Mr. Sheriff no longer looked handsome and admirable to me. Now when I looked at him I just saw cocky and self-serving.
Maybe the former Mrs. Sheriff has a happy new life now and can look back on her life as Mr. Sheriff’s wife philosophically and still have fond memories of the good times. I hope so.
And I hope that Mr. Sheriff, even though no longer married to her, treats the former Mrs. Sheriff with kindness and respect. From what I know, she deserves it.
But I wonder if it ever crosses Mr. Sheriff’s mind that if he’d had a glamorous, probably high-maintenance wife like his second wife when he first ran for sheriff, instead of his fiercely loyal, hardworking first wife, he might not have ever been Sheriff.