‘It just had to happen this way’

Inside Mississippi Fish Shack, “That’s What I Want” plays. Kim Perry leans on the counter.

No, she is not worried, she explains; in fact, she’s working, not glued to her TV, and she’s “very confident” the candidate she voted for this morning, Sen. Barack Obama, will win the presidential election.

It was just planned that this would happen, that a half-black man would go up against a white man, says Perry, the restaurant’s owner. The stark contrast she sees between Obama and Sen. John McCain — she describes them as opposites — has given people “a wake-up call,” she says.

When she thinks of Obama, she says, she closes her eyes, and his race fades away, and all she can think of is hope.

She walks to her prep room, located in the back of the restaurant, and takes a look at the four-inch black and white television perched on top of a refrigerator to see the latest results. She turns up the volume on the television, which is tuned to KOMU. For now, at 7:30 p.m., she hears an anchor say, results are still too early to call.

“Too early, yeah,” she says.

Her thoughts return to Barack Obama. His rise, she says, makes her feel like “all things are possible again.” She smiles. “That we’re not stuck in the past. That we’re moving forward.”

“It just had to happen this way,” she says.

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