I held a Women’s March by myself in Ava, MO, population 2,927. It is the county seat of Douglas County, population 13,373, and just north of Ozark County, population 9,600, which borders Arkansas.
I kept searching for a march nearby to go to with no luck. St. Louis, MO and Fayetteville, AR are each about four hours. Too far. Springfield, 80 miles away, where I went with three pals last year, was having a voter registration event but no march. West Plains was having an event, but no march. Other cities had rumors of marches or events, but I could not find the information.
I made myself a sign: “Ava MO Women’s March 1-20-2018.” I drove to Ava with my warm clothes on and pussy hat atop another, warmer hat. (It ended up around 45 eventually.) My Black Lives Matter button was on my jacket.
First I did errands wearing the hat. No questions, no reactions at the drug store, post office, gas station or library. They probably just thought, “NOW what is she up to with that hat on?” Last errand was our local health food store, where I was given support by the staff for what I was about to do. I told them I was going out to represent the women of Douglas County who could not come, did not know I was doing it, would have come if they could have or were dead. One of the staff there asked me to include Ozark County—she lives there—and I agreed.
It takes about eight minutes to walk all around the square. I walked it seven times. It took about an hour, because I was stopped for a chat three times. Once it was a store owner—no comment about what I was doing at all, just weather talk. The next time it was a woman I know who had no idea what was going on, but said she would have joined me had she known. Finally, as I was headed for the last half of the seventh circuit, three friends pulled up on their way to a birthday party. One of them hopped out and joined me.
There was a fair amount of traffic going into and out of the square during the time I was walking. Most kept stony faces when they saw me. I received supportive gestures from three or four women during the hour.
It was a little lonely to set out by myself and walk around and around. No one else was on the sidewalk at all, unlike other times of year when it has a lot of people, except right in front of the health food store. I enjoyed it, though. No harassment, no company till the very end, a bit of support and a plan for next year.
I am convinced it is best to do things in our own locale instead of driving off somewhere. Now, to convince the other women around here to participate—if the weather allows—in 2019.