The History Channel is doing a series about the presidents, which my teenage sons are watching, and I just walked past the TV while the show was talking about Jimmy Carter. So I muttered something about what a lousy president Carter was, and my wife said, "He's a nice man -- he called my patient!"
My wife then reminded me that, some 15 years ago, when we lived in Rome, Ga., she worked as a home health aide. She came home one day and told me about one of her patients, who was old and very ill, who had been an official photographer for Jimmy Carter. "I wonder," said my wife, "if there is any way we could get in touch with Mr. Carter and let him know" about the old man's illness.
I mentioned that Carter's former aide and longtime supporter, Bert Lance, lived in Calhoun, about 25 miles away, where we'd lived before we moved to Rome. So my wife gets out the phone book, looks up Lance's home number (which was listed) and calls him. She got the answering machine, and left a message, but didn't really expect to hear back.
And then the phone rang, and it was Lance, who said he knew the photographer very well and was sad to hear of his illness. He said Carter was about to leave on a trip to Africa, but would try to get word to the former president.
Well, Lance personally visited my wife's patient and Carter made a personal phone call. And from that day forward my wife -- who is an Ohio-born Republican -- has always defended Carter as being a decent, Christian man.
Somehow, I just felt the need to share that story.
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