Tomorrow is April 26. For over a year, tomorrow has been on everyone’s calendar as the day it all gets decided, the primary elections in Maryland: votes in both parties for President, Senate, hotly contested House races in CD4 and CD8, the mayor’s race in Baltimore.
When I learned the date of the primary, I smiled and thought to myself “of course it’s April 26. Why would it be anything else?” Why? Because April 26 is the day, 24 years ago tomorrow, that I got married. When guys talk about marrying up, trust me, I’m at the front of the line for that.
For my wife Rebecca Lord and me, politics was a shared passion, a sometimes bloodsport that brought us together much more than it pulled us apart. I was fire, opining loudly about pretty much everything. She was quieter – only a little – but vastly more skilled at the people part of politics. Even when she disagreed with you, she’d engage with you for hours, not necessarily trying to win but to clarify, to forge consensus where she could and to establish understanding where she couldn’t. Never an unkind word – not publicly, anyway – but whip smart, social, and charming to an amazing degree.
She died in July, 2012, at 47, and a big part of me died with her. What kept me going was the unshakeable belief -no, certainty – that if I didn’t pick myself back up and DO something, that she would come back and kick my ass up one side and down the other. So I got up. And I pushed forward, always forward, because she set that kind of example for me for so many years.
I’m not the same person I was then, but what I find as I’ve gone through this campaign – even more than when I ran in 2014 – is that I’ve internalized a big part of who she was. I’m not anywhere near as short-tempered as I was earlier in my life, and I try my best to emulate her patience, her charm, her ability to cut right to the core of an issue. Still a long, long way to go to get even remotely close to as good a person as she was, but it’s a work in progress. It always will be.
So sitting here this April 25, contemplating our 24th anniversary tomorrow, I want to take a moment to remember someone who physically isn’t here, but if you like what you read on this blog, she’s a big part of the best of Maryland Scramble. Tomorrow, as you rush around doing all that so many of you will be doing on Primary Day, take a second, or if you knew her, maybe a minute or more, and remember Rebecca Lord. Because she represents not just the best of what I do, but of what we all do to make our town, our county, our state, and our country a better place by our involvement.
And for those of you who were wondering what I looked like in 1992, here’s a picture of the lucky groom and the beautiful bride, 24 years ago tomorrow morning, at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton.