For many years, I've been telling this story. Recently, it has gotten a new ending. And because of the upcoming election, it now got an urgency. It's not the usual stuff of my blog. But thoughts of decency are not too far from the natural world, I'd say.
Many years ago, at the end of the eighties, in a Rocky Mountain ski resort, we found ourselves at the dinner table of a rich man, with a few other guests. On my right side was my husband. On my left, a guy who let me know within minutes that he was from New York and worth two billons. Inside, I rolled my eyes, noting his bad manners and sighed that he obviously had no idea I wasn't into money. I had nothing to say to him.
That was when he looked down at my hand and exclaimed: "Your husband can't afford a better ring than that for you?!"
Truly shocked, I didn't find a single word to answer. About a week later, I came up with a few scathing retours. But not then. I loved the small red-golden ring with a tiny sapphire my husband had brought back from one of his travels to India. I remained silent. The rest of the dinner, it was as if the guy wasn't even there anymore. There was nothing on my left side. As I like good yarns, I often told this as a story about the rudest person I'd ever met.
Forward nearly three decades. When I saw the video clip online of Trump elbowing his way to the front row of international leaders, something clicked. With really no remembrance of the guy himself - just that he had been tall, blond and probably in his early forties - I recognized the pattern of bad behavior. From then on, I told the story as It could have been Trump.
Just very recently, in this fall of ongoing Pandemic and quiet desperation, I met the daughter of the rich man again. He himself has been gone for many years. I asked her the question I should have asked long ago: "Did your father know Trump?" She shook her head and said, "I really don't know how well my father knew him. But Trump owned the next door house."