The returns are coming in, and I have shut off the television. I can only take so much of the overly dramatic network projections. Why not sleep on it and find out the truth in the morning.

Because I recently moved from Sundal Township, which now votes by mail-in ballot, to Bear Park Township, which still opens a poll, I had to register to vote. Of course, I forgot my driver's license, so I had to make two trips.

At the poll, they had a fancy new machine which reads and counts the ballots on the spot. They had also consolidated the ballot so all offices, from United States Senate to local school board races, were on one ballot. That made things a lot easier.

The Bear Park townhall has been spruced up nicely. New siding, new sidewalk, new lawn. But the smell inside is still that wonderful old townhall smell. Makes you want to hang around, have coffee and shoot the breeze.

Across the way is an empty patch of land where the Bear Park General Store used to stand. It closed in the mid-90s. A more bleak location for a store couldn't be imagined. We used to run over there for milk and what-not.

So, things change on the prairie. Fewer people all the time. Larger farms. We may have reached bottom, who knows. Some people are moving back to get away from the hassle of the city. However, the long-predicted rush of people from the city to our pristine countryside with our fast internet connections and low crime rate has been stubbornly slow in materializing.

At least when the people do come, we'll have some nice voting machines! It is good to see some things improving, anyway.