Monday, September 1, 2008

Senator Goldwater... I would like to introduce Charlotte Godfriedson of the Colville Tribe

I was in Washington, DC, attending a meeting of Directors of University Year for Action programs. We had been asked to bring two or three students with us so they could talk to the press about their experiences in the program. One of the students I took was a young Native American woman, member of the Colville Tribe, named Charlotte Godfriedson. We were in the hotel lobby waiting for someone to meet us when Charlotte came running to me saying "George, Senator Goldwater is in the barber shop! He is one of my heros. Oh, how I would love to meet him." "Come on," I said, "show me where he is." We went down the hall to the barber shop and yup, that was him all right. "Come with me" I said to Charlotte as I entered the barber shop. "Senator Goldwater" I said and paused. "Yes," he responded. "Senator I would like to introduce to you Charlotte Godfriedson, a young member of the Colville Tribe in Washington State who thinks you are the greatest Senator ever." "What a pleasure to meet you," said the Senator as he held out his hand to a startled Charlette. After an exchange of a few pleasantries we left and once in the hall Charlotte asked how I came to know the senator. I responded that I had never met him before but that I did not have to know him to make an introduction.

She found this hilarious but when I told her how I learned this 'trick' she laughed even more. Back when I was working with the Inter-American Geodetic Survey in Panama I was attending a local fiesta in a small town and was in a bar with a fellow named Guillermo. I was standing with my back to the bar surveying the crowd and Guillermo was on my right talking to the bar tender. Up comes a lovely young senorita to my left and orders a drink. I give Guillermo a light poke and point to my left. His eyes light up and he runs around me and says "Senorita, may I introduce my good friend George Drake?" And she responds as we shake hands, "Mucho gusto, soy Maria Sanchez." We chatter a bit when Guillermo gives me a hefty kick and whispers "Now you introduce me, you pig!" Now that I have her name I introduce the two of them to each other. Oh, well, I learned fast.

I guess I had always been a bit forward, though. I recall being in Princeton, New Jersey, one Saturday when I was about 15 or 16 years old with a crew that was conducting an inventory at a hardware store. The gang of us, all employees of the same chain of hardware stores, moved all over the state doing that on Saturdays. After my lunch I went for a brief stroll when I noted coming toward me a person who could only be Albert Einstein. "Good Morning, Dr. Einstein," I said as we came close to each other. "Good Morning young man" said Dr. Einstein as he passed. So now I can tell folks that I once met Dr. Einstein and exchanged pleasantries with him. Name dropper!

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