Thursday, November 1, 2012

On Meeting Senator George McGovern

Senator George McGovern
holding his book about Abraham Lincoln
Photo source: Jake Ross/Associated Press
I was saddened to read of the recent death of former South Dakota Senator George McGovern. In my younger years, when I actually had the energy and the stomach for politics, I was quite a fan of his. It still astounds me that Richard Nixon won the 1972 election and sent us into the nightmare that was Watergate. 

But I am not here to talk about politics. What I want to tell you is that I met and have a book autographed by Senator McGovern. He was here a year of so ago in conjunction with our state historical society, The Filson Club.

There were so many who registered for the free event, that it had to be moved to a church to accommodate all the attendees.

Senator McGovern looked quite frail at the time, but his voice, his sense of humor, and his opinions were strong. He mostly spoke about his book, Abraham Lincoln, which he wrote as one of the American Presidents Series published by Henry Holt and Company.

The book was on sale in the lobby (supplied by an independent bookstore, thank you) and I bought a copy on my way in. I am glad I did. After his talk, I got directly in line to have the senator autograph my copy. 

Here is what happened:

As I approached the table where he was sitting with an assistant, I spotted a pad of orange Post-It notes. I grabbed one and printed my first name on it which I knew would speed the process along when it came to signing the book. When it was my turn, I handed him the book open to the correct page for his signature with the orange note  stuck to the top of the page. 

He looked up at me. He was confused. He asked if I wanted him to personalize the inscription. I replied, "Yes, sir. And thank you so much."

Oh dear. His assistant was not happy. Apparently he was only supposed to sign the books. No personal inscriptions. 

Oh well. I may be the only person there that actually had that intimate moment with Senator McGovern. I have the book, his autograph with its inscription, and the orange Post-It note. 

And that is my tale of meeting Senator George McGovern. 

Rest in Peace.


  1. A very good tale it is and of a very good man.

    1. A good man indeed. I have few political idols, but Senator McGovern was surely one.