Monday, May 13, 2019

A President We Can Admire

No, this is not a political diatribe.  This is an homage to a man who wouldn't let me present this in .  public.  He was emphatic - over several months, over a variety of formats - that he did not want to be feted.

That, as you can imagine, was a hard pill for me to swallow.  I love telling people that they are wonderful. I love extolling virtues.  I love sharing small stories that illuminate larger truths about a special human being.  And all that was denied to me.

But here, in The Burrow, he holds no sway.  This is my space and I will use it as I please. Let me introduce you to Our President.

TBG and I came into his orbit through the Cornell Club of Southern Arizona.  He was Our President.  He'd been Our President long before we arrived, and he continued in that role until he couldn't do it any more.  That was three years ago, three years of reminding the membership that his tenure was drawing to a close, three years of searching for someone to step into his shoes.

And those shoes are hard to fill.  His are the only meetings I willingly attend.  They start on time and rarely last more than an hour.  Speaking softly, rarely interrupting, he somehow manages to move ten talky Ivy Leaguers through a planning agenda that will result in well-attended events throughout the year.

He listens to everyone, to everything, smiling appreciatively even when what's proposed is outrageous.  He's easy; if you want to make it happen, go for it.  So we've gone behind the scenes at the Reid Park Zoo, seen plays we'd never attend on our own, had lunch with Sandra Day O'Connor's brother, all with Our President by our side.  He never took the credit, diverting attention to the immediate planners, but everyone knew that it was his quiet enthusiasm which kept the Club in motion.

The true measure of the man can be taken by what he did on January 8, 2011.  Despite tight a cordon of Tucson police and FBI Special Agents and various and sundry hospital functionaries, Our President managed to wend his way through them all until he found a person who could pin a note on the curtain surrounding my bed.  It was a plain sheet of paper, printed on his home computer.  GO SUZI GO! greeted me when I came to consciousness, encouraged me when I wanted to give up, connected me to people who cared about me, who went out of their way to help me heal.

"How did you manage to get that paper to me?" I asked him, months later.   He shrugged his closer-to-7-than-6 foot frame, put a disarming smile on his handsome face, and said nothing.  The First Lady answered for him, summing it (and him) up perfectly.  "It was just Warren being Warren.  You know what that's like."

Yes, I do. 

Power and grace and elegance, wrapped up in a kind and caring human.  I'm honored to have you in my life.

1 comment:

  1. If only we could have him, or a man like him, running for president of the United States.


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