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Darrell Huckaby - Palin forces Huckaby to eat a few words

It ain't no trouble for me to be wrong, y'all. I've been wrong lots and lots of times. Let me give you a for instance. It was 1972, or maybe '73. I just told you I could be wrong.

My roommate Bob Lunsford and I were reminiscing about memorable moments in baseball history. The 1960 World Series came up. You can't talk about the 1960 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates without talking about Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in game seven - the one that broke my eight-year-old heart. But it is funny how time affects our memories. I was absolutely convinced that Mazeroski's crushing blow was a Grand Slam. Bob was equally certain that it came in a tied game, with no one aboard.

So what to do in this pre-Internet age to settle the question? We called Wayne Minshew who, at the time, was a well-known sports writer for the Atlanta Journal. I was actually surprised that he took the call, but he did. As Bob Lunsford listened in on the "extension," I explained our dilemma and asked Mr. Minshew if he could settle our argument.

After all these years I can still hear Wayne Minshew's verdict. "I believe it was a solo shot."

And so it was - and Bob Lunsford has never let me forget it.

Now I told you that to tell you this. Unlike a lot of people I know, I am willing to admit when I am wrong and take my medicine - which brings us to today.

Last week I received a text message from my daughter informing me that John McCain had picked 44-year-old Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate for the presidency. I was horrified and immediately sat down and wrote last weekend's column, bemoaning what I thought was a suicidal choice - politically speaking, of course.

Well, before the ink had dried on the newsprint, I had changed my mind and I am more than willing to admit that I was wrong about Sarah Palin being a poor choice. In fact, I think choosing the self-proclaimed soccer mom was a stroke of genius, for a lot of reasons. Let me expound on a few.

Everybody I know - or almost everybody I know; or at least the folks I hang out with - have been saying the same thing for months. "I guess I'll vote for John McCain, but I'm really not too excited about him."

Quite frankly, I wasn't too excited about him either, and to tell you the truth, I hadn't paid a lot of attention to his campaign. Actually, it was pretty hard to pay attention to McCain's campaign because the media was so busy fawning over Barack Obama's every move and utterance that McCain wasn't getting a lot of coverage.

Now understand this. Folks like me are going to vote, whether we are excited about our candidate or not. But a lot of folks don't see voting as a civic duty. They do it if it suites them and if it doesn't suit them, they just stay home. And folks who aren't really excited about their candidate are a lot more inclined to stay home.

Well, Barack Obama's followers have been excited about his candidacy for a long time.

So instead of picking another stodgy old white guy as his running mate, McCain saw the Democrats' rock-star candidate and raised them a good-looking white woman who is married to an Eskimo. How's that for shaking things up?

The media wasn't paying much attention to John McCain, but they have been all over Sarah Palin.

She has come under attack from certain circles. Some people claim that she doesn't have enough experience. Others question whether a mother with five children can manage the affairs of the second highest position in the executive branch of our nation's government. And there has been talk about her family and her past - did you know her husband got a DUI 20 years ago? (gasp!) And I even heard one elitist claim that she isn't qualified because she was educated at the University of Idaho instead of Harvard.

Gag me.

The thing is, most Americans were intrigued enough by Sarah Palin to try and get to know her. That "government of the people, by the people" thing, don't you know. And guess what? A heck of a lot of voters have looked at her with an open mind and decided that they actually liked her.

What a refreshing idea! A normal, hard-working, straight-talking citizen running for the second highest office in the land. One that really understands the common person instead of just claiming to. And a candidate that really isn't a Washington insider.

And then, with 37 million Americans watching, she was given the task of introducing herself to the nation - and what a speech she made!

"Know the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom?"

Yeah. Lipstick. Everybody knows that today. And they also know where Sarah Palin stands on family values, abortion, foreign affairs, political corruption and drilling for oil. America has met Sarah Palin, and the vast majority seem to like what they see.

I think it is safe to say that Sarah Palin hit a home run in her first plate appearance, and I don't have to ask Wayne Minshew. It was a Grand Slam.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.