Most nights I try to catch the beginning of Charlie Rose to see what he's covering - I don't always watch, actually I seldom do, but I always try to see who's on. Tuesday night's show was a retrospective on Mike Wallace and the show opened with some clips of some interviews Wallace had done. One of the featured interviews was with Ronald Reagan and it featured a moment I'd never seen before.
Wallace asked the President why the office didn't weigh on him like it had on others and the camera cut to a rosy cheeked, vibrant and twinkle-eyed Reagan and his response was "well, maybe they didn't have a Nancy."
"Maybe they didn't have a Nancy." Here was the most powerful man on the planet and when asked why he didn't get weighed down under the pressure he answered without thinking that his wife's support was the secret to his well being, success and happiness, that they were a team. How old-fashioned, how retro, how lovely.
"Maybe they didn't have a Nancy." Think of that quote and what she withstood for him at the time it was made, Nancy Reagan was one of the most vilified First Ladies, and not for political positions she held, like Eleanor Roosevelt or Hilary Clinton, but for supporting and protecting her husband. Yet she never wavered in her devotion to him.
"Maybe they didn't have a Nancy." With the benefit of hindsight we know what the future held for the first couple; the slow farewell caused by Alzheimer's Disease and the gradual disappearance of the President's spirit, optimism and essence. Yet, he doesn't know what's coming, but he knows he's got her in his corner. And that's all he needs, that's what gives him a lightness of spirit, the ability to carry unbearable burdens. His absolute faith in her wasn't misplaced, his certainty in her steadfastness and support was rewarded, for in the last years of his life, the unbearable burdens would all be shouldered by Nancy, she would protect and care for him until the end and beyond.
So on it's face the quote is a lovely acknowledgement of a proud husband of the value of his wife's support and in retrospect it summarizes all the reasons we hope we select the right mate for life, entrusting our fate into the hands of a person we trust implicitly, who loves and supports us when we need it most.
Maybe, we should all hope we find our Nancy.