Thanksgiving weekend has evolved into a tradition for us the last few years: Visit Nantucket, get our jeep home and stalk Vice President Joe Biden. Yes, we are stalkers. Well, maybe not all of us. Just Tony.
Joe Biden has been spending Thanksgiving weekend on Nantucket longer than us - 30 plus years I am told. Now that he travels with the Secret Service in tow, he is hard to miss. As for the "stalking," it is pretty harmless: Tony wanders around town looking for the Secret Service to figure out where Joe Biden is in hopes of a handshake and photo opportunity. At the least, he scores a sighting.
As usual, by Friday afternoon, Tony had spotted him. "Satisfied?" I asked. "Yes." "Good. We won't have to be arrested for stalking." I said. With that off the checklist, we were free to run through the remainder of our tasks.
On Saturday, Tony, Sam and I made a brief return to town for errands and quickly parted company: Tony off with his checklist while Sam and I took a more leisurely walk up Main Street. We paused to listen to a street musician. As an opportunity to practice some skills, I gave Sam money for the musician's beautiful music. After a few minutes spent figuring out what to do, Sam finally placed the money correctly into the growing pile of dollars within the violin case.
We lingered longer. I noticed a man nearby watching Sam with great interest. I noticed his eyes dart back and forth between Sam and some other people. They seemed to continually land on a man seated opposite us: It clicked. Relaxing behind a pair of sunglasses was Joe Biden.
My first reaction was oh no, the Secret Service guy is watching us! Sam often moves and behaves in unpredictable ways. This may not end well.
I approached the man and said, "You look like someone who knows stuff." He eyed me warily and responded, "What kind of stuff do you think I know?" I smiled and said, "Well, stuff like what will happen if my son wanders over to where the Vice President is sitting? Will it be okay?" He just shrugged indicating others had done that.
"It's not that simple" I said. "He, well, he has a different way of doing things. And he is kind of big. It all may appear peculiar to someone like you." His expression changed. I could see he understood as his face relaxed. "Take your son over and introduce him," he advised.
Sam, way ahead of us, was already wandering that way.
I caught up with Sam. Once we were near Joe Biden I secured Sam’s focus on the man now seated in front of him. "Sammy, who is the Vice President of the United States?" I asked. Sam responded "Barak Obama!" "Sammy," I said, "who is the VICE President?" This time Sam answered crisply, "Joe Biden is a Vice President of a United States." At that, Joe Biden stood up. With his famous smile he shook Sam’s hand and said, "Hi Sam. I am Joe Biden and this is my son." I leaned over to Sam and said, "the attorney general."
Beau Biden offed to take a picture of us with his father. As he took my phone, he commented, "I remember you from last year." I responded, "You have a very good memory." We thanked them, walked over to the Secret Service man to say goodbye as well. "You did well," he said to Sam.
A few minutes later we met up with Tony. The first words out of his mouth were about the Secret Service men hovering around Main Street. He added if we walked over we might have another photo opportunity. I responded casually, “Been there, done that.” I handed him my phone with the photo. "Last year's photo?" Tony asked. I directed him to examine the photo a little more closely.
"You got a new photo!" "Yup." I said smugly, "No stalking either. His son remembered us from last year, too. I think it must be because Sam and I are such snappy dressers." Tony answered shaking his head, "Oh Janet. You keep telling yourself that."
As I turned to see Sam hug a nearby tree, I said, “You know, I think I just will."
Thanks for being so gracious, Joe Biden. See you next year.
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