Friday, March 5, 2010

Embracing Hannah-Mania

Don't ever mistake us bookish types as being indifferent to Olympic glory, especially when it's rooted in our community.

Like Hannah Kearney fans everywhere in the Upper Valley, we were excited about her triumphant parade through the towns that claim her. Lisa very graciously agreed to tend the fort while Lucinda, Wendy, and I went in shifts to celebrate with the rest of the town.

I took the early shift, and in came Hannah, in a blaze of VW Bug glory, waving while the children (I count myself among these) yelled and waved. Hannah did us one better--taking pictures of the crowd on her own camera. She hopped out of the car and walked down the street, high-fiving the children who reached out to her, accepted a hat in the shape of a Seuss-like birthday cake, and headed for the bandstand while she graciously listened to everybody older than she say nice things about her. I hopped around with the library's digital camera, firing away, reveling in the beauty of the community and the talent, spunk, and tenacity of the young woman we were celebrating.

At that point my shift was up, and sighing, I returned to my library duties. I handed off the camera to the arriving Lucinda and came back, delighted by the very warm and delightful Olympic champion who knew just how to connect with kids, who quickly donned the signed tee shirt that Dan Frasier gave her, and who seemed the very ideal of the hometown girl who knows where she came from. I went home and raved about what a wonderful person she seemed to be, how like the good-hearted community she came from.

A few days rolled by, and as I was working the desk, a young woman came in with a poster rolled up under her arm. She waited patiently while I checked out a book. I thought she was one of the many people who come in seeking bulletin board space for posters. "May I help you?" I asked.

"I just wanted to leave this poster for the library," she said, handing it to me, along with an envelope that said, "For NPL from Hannah Kearney."

That magic name! I asked, "Oh, Hannah Kearney! How is she? Where is she?" hoping for a little news.

"Uh, right here. I'm Hannah," she said.

Great visual memory, Lulu. I'd only watched her perfect moguls run a dozen times on the Internet. Maybe if she'd come in in helmet and goggles... Hannah grinned at my gaffe and shook my hand and asked my name. Very personable, as lovely up close as she was from the bandstand the week before.

The poster I'd assumed was for the bulletin board turned out to be a signed and suitable for framing picture of Hannah; the envelope contained the proceeds of the Hannah bumper sticker sale at Dan & Whit's.


We will be framing the poster. We are most grateful for the donation. Most of all, we are warmed by the down-to-earth spirit of our town's young champion.

If you needed to create a perfect Olympic champion, full of heart and mind, of agile and disciplined body, you couldn't do better than the young woman we already have.

Thanks, Hannah. All your stars are out, and it couldn't happen to a nicer person.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

What a wonderful story of how people connect with the library!