30 Days of Thanks: Shaking Hands With Our Leaders
I mentioned last year that Vice President Joe Biden comes to Nantucket for Thanksgiving, and has been doing so for more than 35 years. I was thrilled last year to have bumped into him unexpectedly in town and for him to have agreed to take a picture with Nora and me. I also was a little nervous and more than a little tongue tied.
This year, I made a point of trying to meet him while he was in town. I had a second copy of the letter I wrote him and the picture, which I wanted to give him personally since I wondered if he had ever received the one I mailed. VP Biden always eats at The Brotherhood while he is in town, and it just happened that the ending of his lunch coincided with Nora and me stopping in to get a pizza to-go. I had no idea that he was there, but it worked perfectly.
Much more confidently, I went up to him, introduced myself, and reminded him we had met last year. I didn’t expect him to remember me out of the thousands of people he meets, so I showed him the photograph and gave it to him with the letter. He said he had not yet received the first one but that it usually takes quite awhile, which I expected. Then he asked about Nora, who was munching pizza on a bench nearby, and when I pointed her out, he asked, “Do you have a camera now?”
I did, of course, so his son took a picture for us.I wasn’t planning to ask him for another picture; I just wanted to give him the letter and let him enjoy his vacation, but I was thrilled that he offered. For the second time, I was amazed at what a friendly, approachable, and kind person he is. I hope that I’ll have more opportunities to speak with him in the future!
Today, I am thankful that I live in a country where I can just walk up to our second-in-command, shake his hand, and have a short friendly conversation; that I live in a country where I can write him a four page letter about my life and aspirations. There are so many places in the world where that would be impossible, especially since I am a woman. But here in the United States, a middle-class girl can talk to and be respected by the Vice President. No matter how we feel about our country, our politics, or our economy, that is pretty amazing, and something for which we should all be thankful.