If they use these traits well, they can get a lot of things done. In the recent past, two such men became mayor of St. Paul, one was chosen as president of the University of Minnesota, two went to the Senate, and one saved a historic carousel whose horses were already removed and scheduled to be sold at auction.
|Peter and Augie at Cafesjian's Carousel, 4/2008|
Eventually, the New York-born mayor at the time tried to wrest control of the carousel and place it downtown, where it would have died a lonely death. We fought City Hall, and we won. Among the things that made us effective were Peter's vision, determination, intense preparation, hard work, and, oh yes, being willing to offend a few people along the way. He told people the truth as he saw it and did not worry about being liked. When the mayor summoned us to a meeting, rolled out maps of a revitalized downtown, and waxed poetic about his vision (for which he intended the carousel as a centerpiece), Peter said, "Well, Mr. Mayor, not everyone shares your vision." There were gasps around the table.
As a Minnesotan raised to be a people-pleaser, I learned from Peter to speak up for myself and to take a few risks to accomplish something important. As I became braver and more confident, he smoothed his rough edges and added new strategies to that of confrontation. Collaborating on one cause or another, we get a kick out of how well we work together. We call it "Being Peter and Nancy."
|Augie learns to love stories 12/2007|
Maybe all of that was practice for being a grandpa. He is a great one. It was his idea to provide daycare until the grandkids are in school. As with the carousel, I took my cue from him and now we are a great team. Peter and Nancy. Pa and Grandma.
In the summer, when the kids are not here every weekday, it's Pa that they ask to see. For example, just the other day ViMae was getting weepy at the breakfast table. "Mom," she said, "I miss your dad." (Yes, they've been working on figuring out extended relationships.) They called so Vi could talk with her grandpa, and then they came over for a play date.
|Pa and ViMae swim together 8/2011|
Today, August 14, 2011, he turns 63. Or, as he put it the other day, three times the age he wasn't supposed to see. It turns out he didn't have lymphoma at 19, although he did have it at 58. We were lucky; surgery took care of it. I'd like to say I hope we have at least another 21 years together, but we are a little superstitious about "watching what we wish for," so I won't say that.
Happy Birthday, Peter. I'm so glad I met and married you...glad we are Peter and Nancy, Pa and Grandma. I hope you and I have many more years together, and that we enjoy them all. It's because of you that I am a blissed-out grandma.