Former Vice-President Walter Mondale has undergone successful heart surgery and is expected to recover fully. His wife, Joan, died February 4 after a long illness. A tough month for this man of gracious ways and soft-spoken humor.
He is from my home state – Minnesota – and our lives intersected once at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. We were on a plane together and met at the luggage carousel. I was about to start a conversation when a group of people shrieked, “There’s Walter Mondale!” He smiled kindly and said, “Why, I think it is!” And added, “It’s always good to come home to Minnesota, don’t you think?” The groupies descended and he graciously answered their questions. Mostly, he spoke about his plan for the immediate future: ice fishing
Mondale was at another airport where one of my sisters - for some unknown reason – was sobbing. He approached her and asked if he could do anything to help her. She was so surprised at his offer – she stopped crying.
Politicians make calculated speeches with well-scripted lines, seek election and ponder the impact of their decisions. But I have been impressed with this Minnesota man in his small acts of gracious kindness. May his recovery be swift – and offer enough time to get up north and drop a favorite line: through the ice.
(S-R archive photo: 2011)