At the Democratic Convention in July, Bill Clinton gave a loving, personal, and illuminating speech about Hillary that included the story of his multiple proposals of marriage to her. I enjoyed listening to it. But what a surprise to have it referenced by a British boatman on gorgeous Lake Windermere in England’s Lake District.
Let me explain. As I handed my ticket to a crew member to board a tidy wooden boat to cross the lake from Bowness to the landing site for Hill Top, the guy who took my ticket said, “I’ll only let you on if you’re voting for Hillary.”
I did a double take.
“You’re an American, aren’t you?” he said.
I nodded. He must have overheard my accent as I chatted with my British friend Ginny.
“Yes, of course I’m voting for her!” I said. “I like her a lot.” The guy grinned. Then the boat revved up and crossed the blue, blue water. It couldn’t have been a prettier day.
We docked on the other side of the lake. Again the guy stopped me as we disembarked. He pointed across the water. “You see that knoll?”
“Yes,” I said. It looked like every other green-grass-covered mound on the lakeside.
“That’s where Bill first proposed to Hillary,” he said.
Yeah, sure, I thought….does he think I’m just another gullible tourist?
But I pretended, “Really? How interesting! You know she turned him down the first two times he proposed,” and I thought I’d humor him by taking a snapshot with my phone camera.
The guy nodded. He knew the multiple-proposal story. Then we waved goodbyes.
But I couldn’t forget our little political exchange. Later that night, I mentioned the episode to Stacey, a friend near London who had reliable wifi and is good at internet research.
Shortly, I got a message from her: “Bill Clinton first proposed to Hillary in the Lake District in England.”
Well, I’ll be darned! I coulda dropped my false teeth if I’d had such. Hmm. Perhaps I should curb my impulse to make quick judgments about boatswains.
Or about anyone.