Lunch With The Former First Lady

“Get over there,” my friend Nan said with a shove.

I won’t. I can’t go, I thought, then recoiled. I set down my tea, put the book back into my black tote bag and zipped it shut. She’d never, I mean why would she?”

“Just come on, will you?” Nan said so… well, so confidently. Oh yeah, that’s right. I’m the journalist here.

I straightened by back, fumbled for the paperback and walked over to greet Nan. Yes, living life at the marrow, that’s what I’d promised myself. It’s my favorite quote from Thoreau’s Walden: Life isn’t worth living unless you can live it at the marrow. And I was doing it. Although, I could begin tomorrow…

“Hurry up!”

Okay, now I’m nervous, tightly gripping my dog-eared and yellowed copy of First Lady From Plains with anticipation. In the other hand a pen, damp with perspiration. “Are you sure? Do you think she’ll mind?”

“Get over there next to her and I’ll take your picture.”

I looked up. Yes, there I was standing right next to her; the former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. I was. I swear. (You can see me here: www.lauramturner.com) I’d been invited to the National Women’s Hall Of Fame annual induction luncheon in Seneca Falls, New York. The best credential I’d ever earned working as a journalist. Just to be on the beat was an accomplishment, I promise you.

The Women’s Hall pays tribute to females of experience, women of power, persuasion. Women from the likes of Oprah, to legends passed such as suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks and literary giants like Willa Cather and Eudora Welty. These Great Ladies, all two hundred seventeen of them, line the walls of the National Women’s Hall. Accomplished women. Women who dared. Women who live life at the marrow.

“Oh! Hello. Good afternoon, Mrs. Carter,” I stammered. “Congratulations on your induction, and your accomplishments,” I paused. “Oh and would you mind very much signing my book. Would you? Oh and my name’s Laura, by the way.” I swallowed hard. Smooth, right? I finally get to meet The First Lady From Plains and there’s no place at all to buy a vowel.

Rosalynn Carter extended her hand. I placed the pen in her grip and gazed at her like a child opening a pop-up storybook and watching the pictures come to life. “Pleased to meet you,” she said.

She signed, then placed the volume and pen back into my hands. Snap!

“Thank you,” I said smoothing the glossy cover.
Nan and I returned to our seats. The former First Lady returned to her seat. And the chicken salad was served.

About The National Women’s Hall Of Fame (Reference: http://www.greatwomen.org/mission.php):

“In 1969, a group of women and men of Seneca Falls created the National Women’s Hall of Fame, believing that the contribution of American women deserved a permanent home in the small village where it all began. The Hall is home to exhibits, artifacts of historical interest, a research library and office. The National Women’s Hall of Fame, a national membership organization, holds as its mission:

‘To honor in perpetuity these women, citizens of the United States of America whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have been the greatest value for the development of their country.’ (Copyright 2006 National Women’s Hall Of Fame)

The Hall is a shrine to some of the greatest women in the history of this country and a tribute that grows annually with each induction ceremony as we learn to appreciate more about the wonderful contributions that women make to our civilization.”

To take the online tour or to learn more about the National Women’s Hall of Fame, visit their website http://www.greatwomen.org

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