Some people choose not to vote because they don’t like politics or feel their vote doesn’t matter. Not me. I’ve seen what happens when the vote is taken away or when elections are rigged. I crossed Checkpoint Charlie when that ugly wall divided Berlin into sectors. Going from the free west into the Soviet east was like moving from color to black and white. The west was bustling and happy, while the east was drab and depressed.

It was 1969, yet some streets still had rubble from the war. Armed soldiers were everywhere, watching, and people stood in lines to buy their rations of meat. Cars and buses were searched. Most west Berliners weren’t allowed in the east, so they built platforms along the wall to wave to loved ones on the other side, separated by hastily laid brick topped with concertina wire. No citizens gave permission for the wall to go up. They had no voice.

Four years later, I went to Greece, then a dictatorship. I was traveling alone, and solo travelers observe a lot. More colorful and fun than East Berlin, but armed guards watched us as we drank coffee and read papers in a small square in Athens. Suddenly, music played from a loud speaker and everyone stood. I stood too, assuming it was the national anthem. I was a guest and should show respect, but I was also mindful of the soldiers.

Many years later, when we were allowed into countries that had been behind the Iron Curtain for most of my life, I was able to pay my respects at Auschwitz, the most horrible example of tyranny that one can imagine.

All of these places had one thing in common — the voices of their people were silent. Out of fear or apathy, good people had their voices taken away, and they dreamed of a day when they would be free to speak again. So, I always vote. No matter how messy American politics may be, we the people have a voice. As I walk or ride my bike through our communities, I see freedom of speech expressed in every yard sign, and I smile. Neighbors with differing opinions speak out without fear of recrimination. We are free, and this week we celebrate our freedom by voting.

Not sure you want to vote? Think of all the people in the world and throughout history who have been denied that right. Remember all Americans who fought to defend liberty, like the men and women whose banners line our streets. My travels have taught me that freedom is not guaranteed, though we take it for granted. America gives us so much and asks so little in return. Say thank you on Tuesday. Be a good citizen and vote.

Holiday help

The Salvation Army is offering Christmas assistance to residents of our communities who are in need.

Sign up for food and toys for children aged 12 and under during the following dates and times: from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 9-13 and from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13. Be sure to bring birth certificates for all children in the household, picture identification for all adults, a current utility bill, and proof of income. Registration will be held at the Salvation Army at 443 N. Main St., Pittston.

Food distribution

Wyoming, West Wyoming, and Exeter residents are eligible for free food from the Al Beech Food Pantry from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at the Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston. Proof of income is not needed, but proof of residence is required. This is drive through only. No walk ups. Remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk only. Everyone is welcome.

Voting in Wyoming

Voting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, will take place at Wyoming Hose Company No. 2, 70 E. Third St. Voting for all Wyoming wards will take place at this location.

Wyoming notices

Wyoming residents are reminded they are not to utilize the West Wyoming compost site for their yard waste or they will be fined. The contract with West Wyoming was terminated in 2019.

No political signs or advertisements may be posted on tree lawns. They may be placed in your yard.

Wyoming Borough yard waste will be picked up on the first and third Saturday through November.

Bulk collection is the second Wednesday of the month and stickers can be purchased for $5 at the borough building.

First United Presbyterian Church newsFirst United Presbyterian Church holds in-person worship at 11 a.m. Sundays. Masks are required and social distancing measures are in place. For planning purposes, reservations are requested and can be made by calling the church office at 570-609-5410.

Services are also broadcast live on Facebook on Sunday at 11 a.m. Look for the live stream link presbywp.org.

Also, Zoom Bible study and prayer time are held every Wednesday. Call 570-609-5410 for information.

U.M. Church dinner

United Methodist Church will hold a pork and sauerkraut dinner at the church, 336 Wyoming Ave. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children age 5 to 12. The dinner, to be held at the church from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, will be takeout and drive-thru only. There will be no indoor dining or admittance to the church. Purchase tickets in advance by calling 570-693-2821 or 570-693-3700.

Voting in West Wyoming

All West Wyoming residents will vote at West Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 on Shoemaker Avenue.

There will no longer be voting at the borough building.

Moonlite haunts

The Haunted Moonlite Drive-In presents “Eternal Fear,” a spine chilling production by Christopher Thomas and The Scream Team on Oct. 31. There will be a short film followed by characters walking around and spooking the audience. Cost is $15 per carload and proceeds benefit Ruth’s Place and the McAuley House. Witching hours are 8, 9 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.

Voting in Exeter

All voting for Exeter residents will take place at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center. Go directly to the gym entrance.

Exeter notices

Bulk collection stickers are available for $35 for each item. To purchase bulk stickers, contact the Exeter Borough refuse office at 570-654-3001, ext. 2. A bulk item includes small furniture, carpet, mattress or an appliance.

The borough building is closed to the public and open only to essential personnel. Public needs for all police, fire and medical emergencies will be answered. Dial 911 in the event of an emergency. Payments can be dropped off at the secure payment box located outside at the entrance of the borough building for trash, taxes, tickets, building permits and dumpster permits. Call 570-654-3001 or visit www.exeterborough.com/ for information.

St. Barbara’s news

St. Barbara’s gigantic indoor flea market is open for business on a limited scale. Reservations must be made. Because of the coronavirus, only 20 people are allowed at one time.

Please call the parish office at 570-654-2103 to make reservations. Reservations will be in increments of one hour. If there is no answer, leave your name and phone number. Your call will be returned to let you know if your requested time is available. Masks must be worn.

Flea market hours will be every week until further notice, from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays. The flea market is located in the parish center, 153 Erie Ave., Exeter.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming. To list an item, email barbarabullions@gmail.com or call 570-301-2185 by Monday.

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