Thursday, February 27, 2014

the last book I ever read (Promises to Keep by Joe Biden, excerpt eight)

from Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden:

My election to the Senate meant I was no longer on the county council, which meant we could move into the house in North Star. Jimmy and I rented the trucks, and we did the move ourselves. Moving Mom and Dad’s stuff back to Woods Road took some time, but moving Neilia and me to North Star was easy. The only real furniture we had was our four-poster bed, a dining room set, and a big wing chair that we set up in the living room in front of the fireplace. It did look a bit ridiculous. The living room was a big room, eighteen feet by thirty, with high ceilings, shiny wood floors (we didn’t have rugs yet), a stone fireplace, and a wing chair. But we didn’t have much time to do anything about that yet. We hadn’t even had time to shop for Christmas or to put up a tree. I was back and forth to Washington, and for the three weeks after my birthday, Neilia came with me whenever she could. If I got free from staff interviews, we’d run out to look at houses. We planned to live in Washington. We weren’t going to give up North Star, though it would be tough for us to keep two separate houses on a senator’s salary of $42,500, but we needed a home in Washington and schools for the boys. Neilia’s dad volunteered to give us the down payment for a second house, and when we found a small colonial near Chevy Chase Circle, right down the street from a Presbyterian church where the boys could go to kindergarten, he was more than happy to help. Our offer was accepted on a Friday, December 15, and we planned a closing for the middle of the next week. That weekend Neilia and I were back in North Star, and it felt like we had finally arrived at the future we had so long envisioned. The Washington house was going to be nice, but North Star already felt like home—Thanksgivings and Christmases, Easters and birthdays and anniversaries, would all be celebrated at North Star. We planned on spending most weekends at North Star. When Beau and Hunt and Naomi thought of home, they’d think of North Star. And that Sunday night, with the children asleep over our heads, Neilia and I sat on our lone wing chair, in front of the warm glow of a fire, in our stone fireplace, in a moment of near perfect repose. The moment exceeded all my romantic youthful imaginings. I was a United States senator-elect at age thirty. Our family was together under one splendid roof. The doors were just beginning to swing open on the rest of our lives. Neilia and I had done this amazing thing together, and there was so much more we would do. Neither of us was sure exactly what the rest of our lives would bring, but we couldn’t wait to see.

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