I met up with President Martin Van Buren yesterday a little after 11 AM at the Nevada City Growers’ Market, looking really fit after all these years.
What a nice guy! Not puffed up — prideful or vain — at all, especially considering that he was the first president born an American citizen (not born a British subject). Maybe it was that rout he suffered in 1842 when he tried to win a second term that has kept him humble all these years.
I struck up a conversation with him as he passed by when I inquired whether he was hot in his three-piece suit. He seemed not much concerned by the balmy 80+ degree weather, and allowed as how he was sure it would be well into the 90s next week for the Constitution Day Parade.
When I told him that we moved to Grass Valley a couple of years ago, he said that he has lived in the county for forty-four years! Wow! That’s impressive!
I also told him that I was finding our local politics worrisome, but he waved my concern away and said something to the effect that there are great people on all sides of most issues up here. I’m starting to see that too.
When he mentioned his long stint — 21 years (I looked it up when I got home) — as a trustee on the Sierra College board, his pride in his role in creating the Nevada County campus was justifiably evident.
Unaware (at the time) that he’d lost his trustee seat to Aaron Klein, I told him that I’d had some pleasant online conversations with “one of his fellow trustees, Aaron Klein,” but that “we are on different ends of the political spectrum.” The former Jacksonian Democrat (and later Free Soiler) then said, “You must be a liberal?”
If I’m not mistaken, Sparky — whoops, I mean President Van Buren — was also there at the founding of the Constitution Day Parade. So he’s had a distinguished career of public service here in Nevada County in the last several decades. New York’s loss is our gain.
Look for President Martin Van Buren and the other presidents next week at the Consitution Day Parade.