“Meanderings” by Jim Peters

Frequent contributor Jim Peters sent along the following:

One of my favorite stories is one involving the President of the United States. Not this President, but President Jimmy Carter. It turns out that I was mentioned by the president one night in a conversation he had with my brother-in-law, then U.S. Senator Paul E. Tsongas. According to Paul, the way that it happened was this. Paul’s home telephone in Washington, D.C. rang one night and someone asked him to wait for the president. Paul accepted the call, of course, and the familiar voice of Jimmy Carter came through the wires. He said, in his inimitable Southern accent, “Senator Tsongas, I understand that you have a brother-in-law in Lowell named Jim Peters.” Paul acknowledged my existence, wondering what this was all about.

“Well, Senator, I understand that your brother-in-law is coordinating Lowell for Congressman John Anderson, who is running against me.” Paul acknowledged that I was.

“I would like to ask you to tell him to stop.” Paul stopped. Then he said something to the effect that he does not tell his family how to vote or who should get their vote.

I thanked Paul for the story and called my wife and said, “The President of the United States mentioned my name while standing in the White House! What do you thing of that?” She knew I was estatic and was supportive.

I never thought I would be mentioned by any President of the United States. Perhaps the reason could have been better, but I did support John Anderson that year, who garnered 6% of the vote nationwide, and did better than that, if memory serves me correctly, in Lowell. It was quite something.

I remember, when I was selected to be Town Manager of Cavendish, Vermont, Paul chiding me because I did not take the job. “I think you should have taken it,” he said. I thought so to, and have sinced learned that I do not have the thick skin for that type of position. It would have been kind of glorious though. Their biggest problem was when bulls got out of the barnyard and ran down the main highway. Other events included the farmstands on the main road during certain periods of time and their legality.

When Congresswoman Niki Tsongas was sworn into the Congress, she had us down to witness it. It was a great time. I met Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was very pleasant. Niki told her I was her “sign guy,” and Nancy Pelosi laughed and said, “Everyone needs a sign guy.” My wife Vicki went shopping in the most expensive hotel in D.C. and came back with bargain basement priced mugs and glasses. If there is a bargain out there, Vicki will find it.

Speaking of bargains, I hope you are finding yours this Christmas season. Fighting over bargains is not cool, but just finding bargains is a good thing. I wish you the best of the season, and hope you stay warm this winter. My own personal wish is that I see alot of my children and grandchild this Christmas. And my mother is visiting from Florida for Christmas, which I am really looking forward to. After all, ’tis the season.’