I think my beloved Nana would be quite tickled by the idea of a Grandmother-in-Chief. Heck, if she were alive today, I’ll bet she’d tuck Barack Obama under her tiny wing. She’d probably crochet him an afghan, to help keep him warm and cozy on those long, lonely nights in the Oval Office. She’d send him folk remedies, her favorite recipes, and jokes she’d clipped from Readers Digest magazine. "You’re too skinny," she’d say in her letters. "Tell that wife of yours you need to eat!" But lest Mr. Obama get too too big for his britches, I’m equally sure she’d scold him for skipping Sunday School and for sneaking the occasional smoke.
I don’t imagine my grandmother would have been all that impressed with Barack Obama’s lofty speeches about hope. In her understated, Englishwoman’s way (read: Mary Poppins meets the Queen Mother), I’m thinking she would probably respond with the same piece of advice I often heard. "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride," Nana would say, "so roll up your sleeves and get to work!" Then she’d tie on an apron and offer to help.
1971 photo of Nana with my youngest sister, Mei-Ling.