Thursday, October 11, 2007

Role Models

We never outgrow the need for role models, people older and more accomplished than ourselves to serve as examples for us to emulate. One of my most important role models for some time now has been Doris Haddock, better known as Granny D. An excellent writer and speaker, very much in the old-school style, Granny D. is living proof that it's never too late to try to change the world.

On the 18th of this month HBO will run a documentary profiling her rise to fame at an advanced age, "Run, Granny, Run," airing at nine p.m. It will cover her unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate from New Hampshire in 2004 and her cross-country walk at age 90 to publicize the need for campaign finance reform. The pilgrimage from Santa Monica to Washington D.C. took over a year, and is chronicled in her book, "Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year."

"(T)he ida of walking across the United States at my age seemed a less than perfect idea. I was being foolish," Haddock wrote in 2001. "The country is too big for an old New Hampshire woman with a bad back and arthritis and emphysema and parched lips and a splintered hat. These were not so much my own thoughts but doubts planted in me by others."

I know what she means. First you have to stop telling yourself you can't do so-and-so, then you've got to stop listening to other people who are telling you that you can't do it. And I also know what she means when she speaks of emphysema, the result of fifty years of smoking. Been there. Done that. Got that.

It took her 14 months, but she made it all the way from the California coast to D.C. Some time earlier in her life, at about age 70 I would guess, she made it all the way from nicotine addiction to complete recovery. So there's hope for me, and I have someone to emulate as I begin the long recovery process.

Now, about that walk to publicize the need to dismantle the war machine...

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