Martha had assured him that he looked perfectly admirable in his presidential clothing, but George felt naked as he rode through Philadelphia, toward the new capitol. Citizens cheered, “President Washington”, from their windows. Not one voice of dissent caught his ears, but he could not help but believe that a good number of Americans disliked him and the position, which could surely be compared to that of a king. His father had always told him that, “if you stand for anything worth any value, always expect people to stand against you.”
Standing on the steps of the capitol, John Adams and the rest of the men holding office prepared to welcome their president. Some of them clapped while George dismounted, but Adams, always reserved, simply smiled with his armed crossed. They took turns shaking hands with their leader, who made it a personal goal to come to know each of them by name and character.
“Hello, young gentleman. I do not believe we have met,” George said.
“Oh no sir, I would have remembered such a meeting. My name is Sam Joy, and I will be serving as your personal assistant while you work here in the capitol.” The young man did not notice that he had been shaking George’s hand for nearly half of a minute.
“You have a firm grip my lad. It is a pleasure to meet you, Sam.” George towered over his young assistant, but Sam felt like he was standing eye to eye with the man who had obtained near mythical status after the Revolution. He understood at that moment that George Washington may be the rare kind of man that lives up to his own image.
Throughout the course of the day, George spoke with his staff about how they envisioned their positions. Each man was more than qualified to meet the necessary responsibilities of his post, but they demanded a clear vision for the job. George assured them that their new system would develop over time as fresh needs demanded attention. Toward the final minutes of this first day, George brought Sam into his office to discuss some very important matters.
“Sit down Sam. I tried out that chair earlier and I think you will find it quite comfortable.” George did not sit in his large, prestigious desk chair, but instead chose to sit next to his assistant. “How did you find this first day?”
“I…I found it to be quite satisfactory Mr. President.”
“Sam, I am honored by your respect, but for this time outside of the world of politics and titles, let us talk as the men that we are.” Sam smiled and nodded his head.
“I feel blessed to be here…George?” George winked to Sam’s relief. “To be at this place and at this time is hard to put into words. I have the privilege of working next to men of greatness. We are at the cusp of forming a new nation with such promise…such promise. And you are more than they said you were.”
“Ah, well they say much about me. But, I see this spark in you Sam. A man with such excitement for the promise of tomorrow must have something of promise in his own life.” George said.
“For most of my, well, short life, I had no hope for a female companion because they never took an interest in me. I am aware that my looks and status are not desirable to most women, and this truth followed me as a curse for quite some time.”
“Nonsense, you are a sharp and handsome lad!” George said with vigor.
“Thank you for your kindness. The reason I sit before you with this “spark” as you say is that Heaven saw fit to introduce me to a woman who somehow saw me and understood me immediately. We met on a morning last May. I often rise early to walk during the early hours of the day because I feel as if I am home at that time. The softness of the light and the calm as the world slowly wakes into life again is something of a comfort to my soul. Fortunately for me, another found the same source of comfort.” Sam’s eyes drifted around the room as he envisioned the scene of that first meeting. George listened with an ever increasing interest.
“I stood alone on the same wooden bridge that I had stood on for years, following the leaves pass by in the stream. I remember closing my eyes,” Sam closed his eyes, “and praying the same prayer I had prayed for years. Father, please guide my steps as I walk through this day. I see the good things that you have made, and I am thankful to know that they come from your hands. From the bottom of my heart I ask that you find me a match, a companion, to share this world with, in all of its beauty.” Sam opened his eyes to see George leaning forward in his chair.
“And your prayer was immediately answered.” George said.
“You see, I was not alone when I said that prayer. She had walked up behind me and looked out at the stream from the other side of the bridge. When I turned to go, I saw her standing there.” At that moment one of the staff members walked into the room.
“Mr. President, I would like to ask you something if you have a moment,” the man said. George sighed.
“I am talking about some important business with Sam here. Is it something of great importance you wish to ask me, Paul?”
“No sir. We, the staff, would simply like to know if you need us for anything before day’s end.”
“Oh, I do not believe we have anything further to accomplish today. You and the men worked very well today.” George said.
“Thank you, Mr. President. I look forward to tomorrow.” Paul exited the room and the men were once again free to speak openly.
“Sam, please continue. What is her name? Is she pretty?”
“Her name is Rose, and very much so. We walked together that morning for two hours. By the time we reached her house, I felt as if I had known her as long as I had known myself. And, the following morning we met on the same bridge once again. Now, we are set to be married next month.”
“What a blessing indeed this is. I would love to meet the woman someday.” George said.
“I am confident you will. She will be coming here for the wedding since we will be married in the church just down the street.”
“Wonderful. I am glad to know that your heart is well nourished, Sam. Lord knows we need men of your kind if this country is going to survive its infancy.” George arose from his seat to stand next to the large window behind his desk.
“What is it like, this responsibility of being President George Washington?” Sam asked with a hint of caution.
“I think we will find out together.”
George looked out at a broad field with a solitary cherry tree growing out of the center. Hopelessly standing against the fading light of the setting sun, its long shadow spread across the grass, reaching toward the capitol.