On a Thursday in
February, U.S. President Obama came to Ottawa on his first head
of state visit. One day later I took my young granddaughter Lotus
to Ottawa to celebrate her 7th birthday. Our itinerary included
a visit to The Children's
Museum, Princess Afternoon Tea at Zoé's Lounge in the
Chateau Laurier, and outdoor frolicking at the Winterlude
celebrations. All very exciting kid-friendly stuff that any
little girl would love to do. She was thrilled.
Then I told Lotus
that Obama had been in Ottawa just one day before us.
'You know, Grandma,
Obama is very good; he wants to stop all fighting,' she confided.
Huh? From a just
barely turned seven year old? I can only attribute her political
knowledge to the power of television and possibly the conversations
between her mom and dad that she was privy to.
That morning all
the Ottawa papers were full of stories about Obama, singing his
praises and outlining in detail everything he had done in the city.
My granddaughter suggested that once we had done all the fun Ottawa
activities on our itinerary, we could also check out the places
that her 'American idol' had been. I didn't argue. To myself I thought
-- after running around all day this kid will be too pooped to follow
her 'Obama Trail.'
We bundled up and
enjoyed our non-stop, whirlwind sightseeing time from 9:00 in the
morning till 4:00 in the afternoon. By then Grandma was just about
ready to crawl back to our hotel.
'You promised we
could go to see where Obama bought the moose key chain for his daughter,'
she reminded me.
we went to OXXO, the gift shop in the ByWard
Market we had read about. Mr. Ustun, the man who runs the store
was absolutely wonderful. He told Lotus all about Obama -- how tall
he is, how nicely he smiles, how strong his handshake is and, (most
important of all) he kindly showed my granddaughter the sample moose
keychain, and the five dollar bill wrapped in plastic that the President
had paid for the keychain. Then Mr. Ustan shook hands with Lotus
and Grandma captured the moment for posterity.
Oh my goodness. That
was the icing on the cake. Now Lotus is telling her teacher (and
anybody else who'll listen), ''I shook hands with the man that shook
hands with Obama!'
Our birthday trip
to Ottawa was an all round fabulous success.