So I’m at the Starbucks tucked inside Barnes and Noble the other day, killing an hour in-between appointments. It’s about Noon. “I recognize you,” says Jeannie Ritter, Colorado’s First Lady. “And I recognize you,” I reply. I remind the First Lady of my name, that her daughter and my stepson are friendly, and of the few times we’ve met.
“Tell me what you’re doing these days,” she asks me, genuinely interested in spite of the fact the efficient-looking executive assistant standing beside her clearly wants to keep her boss on schedule. I understand, I’ve been there, too. But Jeannie is all talk today so I begin to tell her about the kids, my writing, and my new endeavor beginning an MFA program in creative nonfiction writing. “Good for you. Good for you,” she says, and means it.
We talk for a moment about her next adventure once Governor Ritter leaves office. “I’m thinking about it,” she says, warmly.
We say goodbye and I sit down to tweak a speech I’m writing which happens to also be about seizing adventures. Minutes pass, maybe twenty. I’m lost in thought, concentrating deeply, oblivious to the fact that the First Lady has just sauntered over to my table.
“Sit up straight!” she whispers just loud enough for others to hear.
“You’ll be a hunch-back old woman if you’re not careful,” she warns, those earnest blue eyes of hers fixing my gaze. I can tell she cares.
I’m a bit embarrassed, of course, but the First Lady happens to be right. I thank her for the reminder – and I am thankful since slouching is a bad habit.
“Bye Jeannie, thanks again,” I say as she dashes back to her assistant and to do what First Ladies do.
* * *
Three days have passed since my rendezvous with the First Lady. And still I find myself smiling over our little chat about adventures, the importance of parental modeling, and naturally, her admonishment. I’m stepping into my new world today at Goucher College (while still holding up the old world, too) and plan to take the First Lady’s advice to heart. She might have only meant it in the physical sense, but to me, her message is all about standing tall and proud, refusing to slump.