I had the pleasure of becoming friends with former Senator George McGovern about 4 years ago. His political career had been long over when we met and he came to me as a music lover. He wanted to go to the upcoming Willie Nelson concert and was calling to ask if there was a way I could get him in contact with his old friend Willie. I would get calls like this frequently and continued the conversation. He then said my name is George McGovern and I could tell he was an elderly gentlemen by our conversation and I immediately ask “Senator George McGovern?” and he replied “yes”. George and became friends and he attended several concerts at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
I also had the pleasure of introducing George to my good friend Stetson Kennedy. We set up a breakfast meeting and it could be one of my most humbling moments. I was eating a muffin between a man who along with Bob Dole created a program that feeds millions children each day through his school lunch program and a man/author who went undercover with the Ku Klux Klan and outed many of their secrets. The impact these men had our world can not be measured. George the children of the world may never know where their meal came from but you will be their hero just by providing a needed meal. That day they made a pact that unfornately neither was able to keep. They made a pact to live to 100 to each other. We lost Stetson last year and George this week. The last time I talked to George I was on my walk and he called me somewhere in South Carolina. We spoke about my walk and told me of his busy schedule. He was his normal sharp self and always generous with his time.
The best story I have about George is when we were at the James Taylor concert. We had arranged for James to talk to George during his intermission and I went and got George out of the crowd to take him backstage. George was excited to see Taylor because they had not seen each other since the 1972 election. I believe if it was possible for 87 year old man to float he was that evening. James Taylor finishes his song before intermission and comes off stage on the other end of the backstage hallway. He immediately makes eye contact with George and actually runs towards George as if he was the rock star. It was a great moment for George and I always wanted to thank James Taylor for making that moment so special a man who deserved to be treated like a rock star. We will miss you George and Thank you for your friendship, wisdom and service.