Long Lives

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited to several events with Senator Voinovich and his wife, Speaker Davidson, and other distinguished guests. I dashed around town for two days in business attire so as to look presentable for these engagements. Looking back, I’m glad I dealt with nylons for 18 hours on back-to-back days; it’s good to be well-dressed for moments that change your outlook on life.

Both of these distinguished individuals have dedicated their working lives to this country as public servants. Then, because they hadn’t given enough, they retired and continued to advocate and advise others on behalf of their favorite causes. Not only are their records impressive, their knowledge and dedication are remarkable! I had the esteemed honor of sitting next to both of them through a meal, and I walked away from both occasions affected by the encounter.

With Senator Voinovich, I was inspired by the fact that he is going on 80 years old and still doesn’t feel he has the time to write an autobiography. He taught me to believe that it is possible to continue to “fight the good fight” long after you’ve left the capital city. The conviction with which he spoke about working for the good of his constituents could have roused hard-nosed individuals from either side of the aisle. In addition, he took a sincere interest in every student present, questioning each before handing over a certificate as if they were being interviewed for their own biography.

With former Speaker Davidson, I was awed by her sheer power of presence. She commands respect just through eye-contact. I felt myself striving for her approval and advice all the way through lunch, even congratulating myself after she praised me for having selected her meal of choice (without realizing it before ordering)! Never before has one woman’s praise/ suggestions meant so much to me in the space of an hour. Side note: she has her own leadership academy! I’m adding Davidson Leadership Program to my list of things to look into.

Lessons Learned:

  • Yes, you do use that tiny fork with your salad to start. Every time, no matter what meal.
  • Yes, you may talk with your mouth full as long as you are hiding discreetly behind the oversized cloth napkin. No, autobiographies are not just glorified journals of famous people.
  • Yes, I do want to have something other than a newspaper article written about me.
  • Yes, political history is fascinating. But, living and interacting with the individuals who have shaped political history is even better!

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