Slice of Life 2020: Day 3
“The gentleman will yield the well,” announced the Speaker of the House today at the Georgia General Assembly. A collective sigh emerged from most members of the House as bellies were growing hungry and legs were getting stiff.
After a rousing speech in support of his bill # 444, and after taking a couple of questions, the representative yielded his position at the podium, otherwise called the well. This moment punctuated our day at the Georgia Capitol.
I’ve often thought this was a peculiar phrase, “yield the well.” Rich in history and parliamentary procedure, the term refers to that moment when a representative who has been recognized to speak completes his remarks and terminates his recognition.
“Yield the well,” suggests giving something up, almost like a game of arm wrestling. Somebody has to yield. It is certainly a gentleman’s term from a by-gone day. Today, it seems, many are slow to capitulate or relinquish. How lovely it would be if more of us were willing to yield the well, give up a little something of ourselves for the sake of peace and decorum.
These thoughts came to mind as I left the gallery, descended the stairs to the second floor, and found my son. Today, my 13-year-old paged at the capitol with his cousin, Wellsley. He’s right smack in the middle of the photo below delivering a note to a representative.
I found him in the small crowd just outside the house floor.
“How’d it go?” I asked as he stood up from the bench. “Today was a really active day in the house. Did you hear that debate?”
He interrupted my queries.
“I’m hungry. Can we leave and get something to eat?” he asked.
We are at that stage when hunger and the need for food dominates all thought and brain function. It was 1:15 pm.
My thoughts: You mean, after a day of meeting and talking with your representatives, watching the legislative process in action, and roaming the halls of history, all you can think of is, ‘I’m hungry?’ A gentleman just yielded the well out there and you are hungry?!
He shrugged his shoulders.
It was time to yield my own well and get the child some lunch.
“Okay,” I acquiesced and shut up.
On the way out, we lingered over some lighted tiles and stepped into the rainy afternoon.