The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Wendel Sloan

Don't try to change Democrat Grammy


May 13, 2018

When I interviewed retired Clovis High School Band Director Norvil Howell a few months ago for a feature, his wife, Elaine, joined us.

She was such a delight, I realized she needed her own spotlight.

When he met his wife, Norvil Howell was a Republican. But “Momma (Elaine) taught me the error of my ways. I transferred over to being a Democrat because I wanted to keep peace in the family,” he said.

Now, meet Elaine Howell in her own words:

“I’m more liberal-minded and didn’t grow up in eastern New Mexico. I became a Democrat in college.

“I told my grandson I don’t care how anyone in this family votes or what church they go to, just leave me alone because you’re not going to change me.

“I’m the outcast in the family. You know it’s amazing the number of people you’ve known for years and years and years. You think they are your friends and as soon as they find out you are a Democrat you may as well have leprosy.

“I’ve reached the point where I just don’t care. If you can’t like me for what I am, don’t criticize me.

“I worked the absentee ballot at the Curry County Courthouse in ’08. I was vice chair of the Democrats here and had been to the state delegate nominating convention.

“We began counting the absentee ballots on Monday morning and would count them until 2 o’clock in the morning, go home and sleep for three or four hours then come back and count some more. We had to finish them by noon on Thursday because the mailman was waiting to get them to Santa Fe.

“There were a bunch of women up there helping me count them. They’d been grumbling about Obama all week. It was about 10:30 on election night and all those Republicans had been complaining about people voting for Obama and everything else.

“My son Mark, who was a Democrat, called me on my little cell phone and said ‘I called to tell you we have a new president.’

“I just broke into tears. And I turned around and said, ’Ladies, we have a new president.’ And I’m standing there crying my eyes out while they’re still grumbling.

“On Wednesday morning we had to come back and keep counting the absentee ballots — and they were still carrying on.

“Finally, my teacher sense got a hold of me and I said, ‘You know what, I’ve sat here for three days listening to you all complain and talk ugly and I haven’t said one ugly word about John McCain and I want you to know I’m getting tired of all of you.

“They never said another word.

“After the election, I couldn’t believe what I’d hear. He’s going to take away our guns and all kinds of nonsense.

“And if we didn’t get a loser with this one that’s in office now.

“My grandson thinks the idea that Grammy’s a Democrat is like they just let her out of jail and we don’t want anyone to know she’s a convict.”

Contact Wendel Sloan at:


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