President Jimmy Carter
Back in May, I got wind of Jimmy Carter coming to Ridgewood by way of Bookends, one of my favorite stops for autographs. I quickly reserved a ticket for the event, to be held at the Ridgewood YMCA on July 8th. I took the day off from work, put on my suit and tie, and went down there around 3:30 for the 7:00 signing. Not too many people were dressed up, not even the President himself wore a suit. But I was raised that if you’re going to meet the President of the United States, former or current, you best be dressed to impress. I was within the first 30 people on line and as usual, I spent the time chatting with the other attendees. Naturally, we had to go through a security screening, but it went fast and all 800 attendees waited patiently in the hot gymnasium for President Carter to arrive. Like a gentleman, President Carter arrived an hour early at which time he quickly got to work signing. While we weren’t able to shake hands, he waved and made eye contact with everyone. When his aide handed him my book, she said, “The gentleman in the suit.” President Carter looked up, waved and said, “Ah, very nice.” It was hard to get photos at all, but I’ll forever have the image of President Carter’s smile in my mind.