Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting Started

"Dream big Dreams"

- Barack Obama

He scribbled the message using a crayon on two pieces of white paper tablecloth torn off a table at a Biaggi's restaurant in Champaign, IL.   One note for Hannah, another for Sarah Rachel.

He hadn't yet declared his candidacy for president.  He was in town on an exploratory visit, testing the waters, drumming up support for his expected announcement.

Few people noticed when he entered the restaurant with one other person that night.  I noticed, however, and remember telling my family over dinner that it was quite possible the man who took a seat two tables over could very well become our next US President.  "Yeah right", came the response from my two teen aged daughters.  Even my young son looked skeptical.  My wife Susan, however, was excited.  Not because of my bold prediction, but Susan saw it as another learning moment for her children.

Following dinner I asked the kids if they would like to meet Barack.   "No daddy no," came the nervous response.   They didn't want to disturb him.   But I had covered enough political campaigns in my time and interviewed enough politicians to know that when they were running for office or even contemplating a run for office meeting new people and shaking hands was expected.  

So I walked over and introduced myself and family to Mr. Obama.  He was very gracious and asked the children their ages.  We were brief.  I asked the kids if they wanted Mr. Obama's autograph and he obliged.
A simple moment, fleeting but real.  He made an impression.  The impression resonated with me at the time and it's what I remembered most when I stepped into the voting booth in November.  It's no longer about politics with me.  The stakes are too large.  Our country, God knows my state, is in deep trouble.  I voted for the person who I thought gives our country the best chance of pulling itself together.  We'll see.

It's been two years now since that dinner at Biaggi's.  The scribbled notes are lost in the chaos that describes the bedrooms of my two teen aged daughters.   When the notes turn up I'll post them here.  

Meantime, it's my honor to get in this game and add my own Voice to this digital discussion.


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