Sunday, December 1, 2013

A good man

Tonight, thanks to the Andersonville bookstore manager, David, a few of us went to Plains, Georgia to the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site's visitor center. He said there was going to be a community Christmas carol sing-along and what's more, the date had been changed from next week to today. His guess was the change was to accommodate President and Mrs. Carter's schedule. 

What luck. The sing-along was fun, with the audience alternating songs with community groups and church choirs. The first group was a rousing gospel chorus that I wished would go on for hours. The last group was from Georgia Southwestern State University. Their first song was a madrigal and I thought, oh, crap, because I really don't like madrigals but they proved me wrong. It was wonderful. They performed four songs and partway through I noticed that two of the performers, as well as the director, looked pretty familiar to me. Because I don't get out much I didn't have to think hard to figure out that they all played parts in a performance of White Christmas I saw in Americus last week. This is a small community.

The real stars, though, were President and Mrs. Carter. We scored seats two rows back of where they sat. Right behind them were two Secret Service agents, and that was the extent of their protection detail. No clearing the building, no metal detectors, no wanding. Everyone just walked into the auditorium and sat wherever, except for the four seats reserved for the Carters and their security.

Before they took their seats they came down our row to greet us. Thank heaven I put on a clean shirt. And after the show they spent time with anyone in the audience who wanted to speak to them. I asked one Secret Service agent if I could take a picture of President Carter and my friend, a World War 2 vet, and he said I could ask the President myself. Imagine that. I did and he said, "I'm a World War 2 vet myself."

This is how close I was sitting to the Carters. Yeah, I'm a star-gazer.

The Carters with part of the University group and its director. These young folks are so talented - beautiful voices and they mastered difficult music.

The World War 2 vets, born five months apart and still going strong.
It was a fun time, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I said afterward that President Carter is the only living President I'd choose to shake hands with. He's always struck me as a good, decent man. I'm so happy to have had the chance to meet him.

Thought of the day:

People make a big fuss over you when you're President. But I'm very serious about doing everything I can to make sure that it doesn't go to my head. (Jimmy Carter, and he's done a good job of it)