On the day after our nation’s birthday, the three thousand residents of Oak Harbor, Ohio were treated to another patriotic surprise. Finishing a two-day bus tour of northern Ohio, and being in between speaking engagements, the President of the United States chose our small town as his lunch stop.
As much as I would like to tell you I was in the diner when he arrived, I wasn’t. Still, seeing our small town transformed by his short visit was an inspiring experience. I am so pleased that my students were able to meet and talk with him at the diner! Seeing my students on the news and in the papers, smiling and talking with the president, having lunch with him, and having their pictures taken with him, will be one of my most memorable experiences as a teacher.
Each year I encourage my students to challenge themselves and believe that they can chase any dream. Sadly, so many set too many limitations on themselves.
The president’s short visit uplifted our small community in many ways. Sure we were on CNN, made national papers, and will have stories to tell for decades, but the true magic, I believe, is that his visit broadened our vision of possibility and made the world a little smaller. I am sure few will ever be able to go by Kozy’s without thinking, “the president ate there.”
He sat in our chairs, drove our streets, saw our lawns, and even ate off our plates. (I saw on the news that his waitress, my waitress, kept the plate from which he ate his pie.) He left a good tip, but best of all, even better than his signature on the wall, was the note he scribed and signed on a napkin. It read, “Dream. Dream big.” It was a token given to one young boy, but the sentiment belongs to all my students.
It was great seeing our high school marquee, which usually announces the next sporting event, welcome him, my friends serve him lunch, divert traffic around his bus, and help protect him during his visit. It’s comforting to know the president saw what I see each day. He saw the potholes, the gas prices, the price of an omelet. He knows.
I wish I could say that I was able to meet him. I would have loved to hang that napkin in my classroom for all of my students to see, to read, and to believe.
“Dream. Dream Big.”
But I am thankful my students did.
As for my lunch with the president… I will continue to dream big.
Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.
He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation
with his art and words.
Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.
[Photo by Courtney Bergman.]