"Where’s the shirt you had on this morning?" I asked.

"They gave me this one, so I changed." she replied, shrugging.
"Why did you get a free t-shirt?"
"Because I won the Carson Scholar "Think Big" writing contest at our school."
"What did you enter and why didn’t you mention it?"
"A poem…uh, I guess I forgot to tell you."
Of the four kids, our nine-year-old daughter is the most like my husband. Quiet, unexcitable, and irritatingly even-keeled. She is also the child in which learning is effortless.
Towards the end of our daughter’s third grade year, I met with her reading teacher who suggested more challenging books to read over the summer…she also shared that our daughter scored at sixth grade reading levels before becoming bored during the testing. "I think I’m done with this now" she determined.
This morning, I had the very good fortune of briefly meeting Candy Carson. She visited the elementary school to hear the winning poetry read aloud and to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the new "Carson Reading Room" that a local couple donated in conjunction with the Carson Foundation.
Mrs Carson’s conservative stance on education and self-fueled success were a far cry from what you’d hear from uberliberal public school education enthusiasts. She spoke directly to the elementary students and said such unheard of things like, "You are the future of this nation… the number one nation in the world" and "You decide your future".
Mrs. Carson then went on to tell a story of a little girl with very serious neurological problems who had debilitating seizures everyday that were becoming dangerous. She came to Johns Hopkins to see Dr. Carson, who determined that one side of her brain needed to be removed. She was in a coma for many weeks following the surgery, entirely unresponsive. Finally, she woke up in the middle of the night. She opened her eyes to tell her dad (beside her on a cot) that her "nose itched".
Losing half her brain (the side that controls logic) made learning math difficult at first, so the little girl studied hard until she became the best math student in her class. Mrs. Carson remarked, "If she can be first in math with half a brain then imagine what you can do with a whole one!", "You cannot overload your brain with too much knowledge", "Learn as much as you can!", and "What you do is up to you!"
After the program, the special guests, school administration, and volunteers for the Carson Reading Room went to the library for a reception and the ribbon cutting for the new improved library area. Candy was as warm as can be, laughing, shaking hands, smiling, and hugging the staff. She was engaging, natural, fun, and a bit of a mother hen, gathering people for photos and telling the children where to sit so that everyone would fit on the carpet.
Mrs. Carson spoke proudly of our nation and reminded the children of their own responsibility in educational achievement. She was charming, modest, and approachable. Inward beauty radiated from her wide grin, second only to her quick-witted intellect. She is first lady perfection.
Along with the free t-shirt came the book, Gifted Hands, formatted for children. I read it front to back in a matter of an hour, finding myself even more at a loss. Because Ben Carson, much like Alan Keyes, who preceded him in running for the first black Republican presidential nomination, was simply too intelligent and too conservative to win the bid.
And voting for someone who got from the bottom to the top via hard work is just too hard.
(photo above: Candy Carson with school Librarian this morning)
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