Most days that summer, when my brothers and I campaigned for my father in Wyoming, started out early. We drove long distances to dusty little towns, handing out flyers, asking stores to put my father’s posters in their windows. This was well before Walmart, so there were still living Main Streets where one could hang up political posters and other notices. We had a rented machine for blowing up helium balloons in the recreational vehicle. Everything — the clarke for senate balloons, the posters, the flyers, even the RV itself — was in red, white, and blue.
One of my father’s four younger brothers, the crazy one, Uncle Aldous, had allowed us to use the RV for the campaign. We did a lot of damage to that RV. It took fewer than four weeks for us to smash the front and rip a long hole in the roof by driving under a low awning at a fast-food restaurant. We also forgot once to pull in the little set of stairs attached to the side door, so they caught on a telephone pole as we turned a corner. After that, one could neither use them nor put them away. They just hung there, flapping noisily like a metal flag beneath the door.