My President


From the peanut fields of South Georgia to the statehouse and into the White House, I have watched the political life of this compassionate and faithful Georgian. When my granddaughter, Allison, was in grade four, she was assigned to make a poster of a president. She complained that everyone was choosing Washington or Lincoln. She wanted someone different. I suggested she make her poster of Jimmy Carter and offered the clippings I had saved since his first campaign. When I brought out my files, she was excited to make the poster. On the day it was presented, the teacher and class claimed it to be best of all and A+. From that day forward, she treasured everything she saw or heard about the thirty-ninth President of the United States. I enjoyed and shared her zeal. I learned that on Sundays when he was at home in Plains, he taught a Bible class at his home church. I knew this would make a memorable trip for grandmother and granddaughter. At the beginning of summer vacation, we headed to Plains with an overnight stopover in Norristown with Aunt Iris and Melvie Stephens. When we arrived the next day in the President's hometown and checked into the B & B, we asked if he would be in Plains for the Sunday service “Oh yes”, she replied, “He was in here just a while ago.” and she gave directions to the Maranatha Baptist Church. This small country church was several miles out of town. Many people were gathered there including a van of secret service agents. We were lucky and found seats on the second pew right behind Rosalynn. The side door opened, and in walked the former president with his famous big smile. He read the familiar Bible story of Joseph in Egypt and then enhanced the Biblical reading. He added, “Jacob and his sons and daughters did not recognize Joseph”. In a very audible voice, Allison declared, “He didn’t have any daughters.” President Carter was stunned and took a minute to return to his composure. “You probably have not heard names of the daughters, but if he had all these sons, then he surely had some daughters also.” I cringed and hoped this was the end, but Allison adamantly said, “No he didn’t.” I warned, “Allison if you say another word, we are leaving.” Gracefully, he continued and Allison said no more. After the service, we were invited to go outside and have a picture made with him. After many threats from grandmother and promises of silence from granddaughter, we had our treasured picture made with him. When Allison stepped up for the photo, he put his arm around her shoulder and said, “Here is my little sweetheart who knows her Bible stories." Write to Shirley at


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