Two Saturdays ago, when I was visiting my mom in El Paso, I returned an Idaho friend's phone call from the day before and found myself on his car's speaker phone. When he rushed in to let me know I was on speaker phone, I made the reasonable assumption that there were other people in the car. My assumption was correct - "I have Jim (garble garble) and (garble garble garble) here in the car with me," my friend said, and explained they were on their way back south from Sandpoint. I'd hardly said hello when my friend continued, "Well, we shouldn't keep you - they need to make phone calls home," and I thought - ah. A carload of Republicans, is it? That would be the only logical answer for why he would rush me off the phone like that. (As if I didn't already know that a carload of people with this particular friend would likely be a carload of Republicans.) I felt like texting him: "You don't have to rush me off the phone. I promise not to say anything about how great Barack Obama is..."
I started to say goodbye, But Jim Garble-Garble decided to keep me on the phone. "Yes, we've just come back from campaigning for (garble garble)," he said. Great guy, he said. Oh, that's so nice, I said (wondering who in the heck they had been campaigning for). Sounds great, I said. Jim asked me where I was, then asked why I was in El Paso, and about my family... "Good for you," we said to each other. And then my friend finally got me off the phone. That Jim's a nice guy, I thought as I hung up. Even if he is a Republican.
Later in the day, I decided to check my local newspaper's website to see the news back home. There it was. The headline. "Sarah Palin's father and father-in-law visit Idaho," it said. "Jim Palin and Chuck Heath are here to campaign for Republican hopeful Vaughn Ward, who is running for Rep. Walt Minnick's congressional seat..."
Had I just been talking to Jim Palin?
I checked with my friend later. Yes indeedy, I'd just been talking to Sarah Palin's father and father-in-law. How funny is that? I don't know about Chuck Heath, as he didn't say much beyond hello. But I stand by my first impression of Jim Palin. He's a really nice guy.