I did. That’s me standing there with him. I don’t really look like that. I have a normal face in real life. I met him at a party through an author I know. I met some other folks you’ve seen on TV but meeting Mr. Rumsfeld stood out our for a couple of reasons. I’ll share with you why I said that.
First, the old cliche never judge a book by its cover (or the character of a person according to someone else) applies here. I expected a much different man. I wish I could elaborate more what I mean by that but I’m failing to come up with an explanation. I just expected something different. Perhaps more along the lines of my idea of him based on what I read and was told. You know, authoritative, distant, maybe even a little cold. The technocrat Washington lifer.
Well, he thoroughly upset those assumptions. The person I met was very sweet, small, warm and a friendly elderly gentlemen. He was so happy to make my acquaintance and to know a little about me. I told him I served under him when he was Sec. of Defense and shared briefly with him a little about my military career. He took my hand and clasped it in both of his and told me thank you. “I’m glad you made it home safely. I asked a lot of you and others like you. ” He sounded and acted just like a proud grandfather.
There were a few other nice exchanges but none of which come to my mind. I asked for a picture and he was more than willing to do it. Later in the evening I tracked him down to say good bye. He demanded to see the picture. After he was satisfied with the quality, he gave me back my camera. I honestly think if the picture wasn’t good enough, he would have taken another one with me.
I’m pretty good at judging people. I know when I’m meeting the real you or not. I’m certain I met Donald Rumsfeld that night.