I’m never the person who is in the right place at the right time. However, on a cold New Hampshire afternoon in 2007 I found myself front and center on a rope line. This coveted position would not only guarantee me a place in a photo in tomorrow’s newspaper but maybe even a kiss on the head for my infant son from the candidate.

A long 15 minutes later my son was restless. A screaming infant in a campaign rope line is like a fart in church – it’s disruptive. I surrendered my position to an earnest but annoyed college student who was looking daggers at me and my now red-faced child.

I had no sooner walked my blubbering boy out into the quiet hallway than he not only silenced his screams but looked up at me adoringly like a perfect Gerber cherub.

“Fine. You win,” I said as I kissed him atop his bald head.

We walked the hallway of the high school and read notices about upcoming volleyball tryouts and orchestra auditions. Top spellers would try to retain last year’s title. Ms. Stephens would not accept late term papers.

After we had exhausted a half-dozen cork boards littered with announcements, I noticed some movement on the far side of the hallway on the other side of a makeshift partition.


With my infant again growing restless I started singing about bus wheels as we ambled to see what was happening. We walked past the door to the gym with its rope line, and I looked longingly at the crowd that included my husband and a few hundred partisans. In my mind I joined their three-syllable chant of the candidate’s name.

“Maybe in four years,” I thought, and reminded myself that a content infant was worth more than any junior senator from the Midwest with seemingly little chance of securing his party’s nomination.

As we approached the makeshift partition it became obvious that something was happening on the opposite side. I quickened my pace and stopped singing about bus wheels.

Peeking through a crack in the partition I saw a statuesque woman who was serenely still but, by the look in her eyes, was obviously taking in the chaotic situation around her like a seasoned school principal on cafeteria duty. She was close enough to touch but a world away.

As her husband approached she didn’t turn, but her eyes saw him – they saw everything.

With great purpose the candidate made the journey from his campaign vehicle, to the hallway, and to my coveted rope line in the time it took me to whisper into my son’s ear, “He will be our next president.”

My boy babbled and the candidate’s wife turned to my son and me. Through the crack in the partition she saw us, smiled and winked. With that wink I learned the lesson that missed opportunities sometimes lead to even sweeter rewards.

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