His sweet, sunny, loving nature

I just read a book about James Garfield, who spent his childhood in poverty on an Ohio farm and then eventually was elected president of the United States. He served for 200 days in 1881 before he died from infection after he was shot by an assassin.

I never would have read the book—Destiny of the Republic—A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard—if it hadn’t been my book club’s selection.

But the book and President Garfield both are fascinating. And, for me, Garfield is a reminder that each of us is much more than our career or the job we do every day.

Candice Millard says: “A few years after Garfield’s death, a reporter, gazing at a formal portrait of him that hung in the White House, wrote, ‘I fear coming generations of visitors who pass through this grand corridor will see nothing in the stern, sad face of Garfield to remind them that here was a man who loved to play croquet and romp with his boys upon his lawn at Mentor, who read Tennyson and Longfellow at 50 with as much enthusiastic pleasure as at 20, who walked at evening with his arm around the neck of a friend in affectionate conversation and whose sweet, sunny, loving nature not even 20 years of political strife could warp.’”

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