If one man knows how trivial Election Day can truly become in the big picture of life, it’s Tony Mellencamp.
While candidates, political junkies and those who get hyped up for elections every four years may have bitten their nails or paced the floors watching the numbers roll in, Mellencamp remained calm.
Even when it was announced he won a seat on the Adams County Council – by leading a pack of six candidates with an unofficial 22 percent of the vote – he could express nothing but humility.
And that’s because the woman who sat next to him as he and other local Republicans celebrated at the Elks Lodge in Decatur on Tuesday night wasn’t even supposed to be alive today.
The election was kind of secondary, Mellencamp said. Everything is secondary.
Nearly six months ago, on the Tuesday of the primary election, Mellencamp’s wife, Kaye, slipped into a coma after suffering a brain aneurysm.
She remembers nothing about what happened.
She doesn’t remember Mellencamp at her bedside kissing her goodbye as he was leaving for work. She doesn’t remember the head pain she complained of just before the aneurysm or her eyes rolling back into her lids.
She doesn’t remember how she stopped breathing, or her husband performing CPR until paramedics came and whisked her away to Parkview Regional Medical Center.
More than two weeks later, after doctors told Mellencamp his wife had a 5 percent chance of surviving, she awoke from her coma as if it were the next day.
Tonight was kind of special here, Mellencamp said of his wife being at the lodge. She was introduced, and it was quite an emotional time. She’s walking and driving now.
Mellencamp’s fellow party members, Dennis Bluhm and Randy Colclasure, took 20 percent and 19 percent of the vote respectively to win the other two seats available on the council. Final vote totals: Mellencamp 8,090; Bluhm 7,325; Colclasure 7,029.
I’m really humbled, Mellencamp said of finishing ahead of his two party mates.
While it was exciting to win, the ultimate result took a back seat in his mind when Mellencamp woke up Tuesday morning.
He and his wife spent time relaxing with each other, talking about what happened to her and about what’s to come in the future.
He jotted down some notes and pages for a book he’s working on detailing the couple’s ordeal, and Kaye is due for another doctor’s appointment soon when specialists will be looking at another aneurysm she’s developed.
But by Tuesday night, none of that really mattered.
Neither did the polls, nor the percentages or vote counts that media and commercials have made so much of in the past few months.
In the end, only one thing meant anything at all.
Tonight, she is here with me, Mellencamp said of his wife. She’s here with me.