For Janet, a running joke in her family took on a different meaning last week when she found out she had been chosen as the first guest at the next round of Dinner with Barack.
"Every time I get together for a meal with my sister and cousins, we say 'Oh, we should have President Obama and the First Lady over.' We joke that we're going to pick them up and bring 'em over. We've been playing like that for years: 'Let me just call Barack and Michelle and see if they'll come.' And then I find out I'm going to have dinner with the President—and I don't even have to cook! I tell you what: The tables have turned."
Janet, a grandmother from Accokeek, Maryland, got the news on her way home from a car trip.
"I was in the supermarket parking lot when I found out," she explains. "I was driving down from New York and I started to get really hungry, so I pulled off and got some things to eat. Then all of a sudden my phone rang. I had to boot it out of there so I could stand in the parking lot and scream. I was floored. I felt like I was in a hot air balloon just sailing over everything.
"I was so surprised. I wanted to support the President's second term, so I gave not knowing I had entered into a contest. I just had a desire to give, and as a result I have the ability to sit down and dine with President Obama—that's a blessing. I was getting emails from people in the campaign, and I clicked on one that offered the chance to donate. I saw the block that said donate, so I clicked on it."
When asked what she plans to do in preparation for Dinner with Barack, Janet doesn't miss a beat:
"Sit-ups, push-ups, 100 a day! I want to be healthy and looking good. And I'm going to be praying that God will give me the right attitude, because I get very talkative, and I want to be quieter and enjoy the moment. I'm going to practice silence. I'm going shopping. I'm going to continue to take care of my husband, who is fighting cancer. And I'm going to relax and try to get ready."
She has this advice for anyone deciding whether to pitch in and support the campaign:
"My dad is a Tuskegee Airman. He always says 'Support your leaders and listen to their voices, and in turn, they'll listen to yours.' Turns out he was right about that."
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