LITTLE BY LITTLE By Matthew Little—Memories at a Birthday Party

My 90th birthday celebration, held a couple of weeks ago, was given by my children, grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren. It proved to be more than just a pleasant, enjoyable evening; it also revived some wonderful memories.

It recreated some past memories of occasions that kind of made a guy think, “Gee, I would like to have the opportunity to do that again.”

But the single incident that captured my memory most, while adding unexpected zest to the entire evening, was the appearance of Minnesota’s senior U.S. senator, Amy Klobuchar. I find it difficult to even think of her as a U.S. senator when my memory still pictures her as that bright-eyed, precocious young daughter of Jim Klobuchar.

Jim, if you remember, was a longtime, very popular columnist with the Minneapolis Morning Tribune, later becoming the Star Tribune. He was noted and admired for his unique capacity to uncover stories of ordinary people in our midst who had achieved extraordinary things while still living regular lives.
Among other things, Jim was also an avid outdoors person who enjoyed everything in nature from mountain climbing to water skiing. He not only covered pro sports from an intimate perspective, but he also was equally at home with them in the clubhouse.

Jim retired from daily reporting at a relatively young age, apparently to pursue full time the life he enjoyed most — travel and portraying the rest of the world from his perspective, undeterred by the constraints of daily newspaper requirements.

The last time I saw Jim, I said jokingly, “When your daughter first ventured into politics, she was identified as the daughter of the indomitable Jim Klobuchar. But now the situation has reversed, and you can best be identified as the father of Minnesota’s senior senator.

But, back to the birthday party: Without fanfare, the senator and her husband John showed up, and instead of just doing the conventional political thing — shaking a few hands, being acknowledged, and moving on to the next gig — Amy began mixing with other guests and stayed all evening, as just another invited guest.

When asked to say a few words, she buried the expected political sound bites and spoke only of the birthday honoree.

It probably isn’t news to you, but since winning that senate seat Amy has distinguished herself in that position. She is rapidly becoming one of the most noted members of the U.S. Congress’ upper chamber.

In less than one year’s term, she has become such a fixture that the Republican Party is having trouble finding opposition to run against her. Two of the apparent candidates have already backed out.

I doubt I am the only one to think so, but it is my perception that if Minnesota is to become the home state of the first female U.S. president, the initial of that person’s last name will not start with a “B,” but instead may very well start with a “K.” And I doubt that her home state will be Alaska.

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