Dear Mr. Cuomo, Enclosed, find a solitary N95 mask, left over from my farming days
Today, NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo read a letter he received from a Kansas Farmer. Along with the letter would be an N95 mask the man donated, to be given to a nurse or doctor. The Governor would precede his reading of the letter by speaking anecdotally of his mother and lessons to be learned from her.
Below, can be found an image of the letter, as well as a related tweet shared by Mr. Cuomo this afternoon. Also, you’ll find the corresponding video.
“My grandmother on my father’s side, Mary, was a beautiful woman but tough. She was a tough lady. She was New York tough, gone through the depression, early immigrant, worked hard all her life. And she was a little roughhewn. She was roughhewn. I would say to her, “you know grandma, met this girl, met this guy, they’re really nice.” She would say “nice, how do you know they’re nice? It’s easy to be nice when everything is nice.” I said grandma “what does that mean?” She said “you know when you know they’re nice? When things get hard. That’s when you know if they’re nice. And I never really got it.“
“But her point was it’s easy to be nice and kind and affable when everything is easy. You really get to see people and get to see character when things get hard, and when the pressure is on is when you really get to see true colors of a person and see what they’re made of. It’s almost as if the pressure just forces their character and the weaknesses explode or the strengths explode and that’s what we’ve gone through. This is been hard. It’s put everyone under pressure and you’ve really seen what people are made of. And you’ve really had a snapshot of what individuals are made of, and what we are made of as a collective. And personally, I’ll tell you the truth. Some people break your heart. They just break your heart. People who I thought would rise to the occasion. People who I thought were strong, under pressure they just crumbled. They just crumbled.”
“On the other hand, you see people who you didn’t expect anything from who just rise to the occasion, and you see the best and you see the worst. You just see the best and the worst of humanity, just comes up to the surface on both ends. It just, everything gets elevated, the strength in people and the weakness in people, the beauty in people and the ugliness in people – you see both. For me, the beauty you see and the strength that you see compensates and balances for the weakness. And I get inspired by the strength so I can tolerate the heartbreak of the weakness.”
Here is a letter that I received that just sums it up.
Dear Mr. Cuomo, I seriously doubt that you will ever read this letter as I know you are busy beyond belief with a disaster that has befallen our country. We are a nation in crisis, of that there is no doubt. I’m a retired farmer hunkered down in northeast Kansas with my wife who has but one lung and occasional problems with her remaining lung. She also has diabetes. We are in our seventies now and frankly I am afraid for her. Enclosed, find a solitary N95 mask, left over from my farming days. It has never been used. If you could would you please give this mask to a nurse or doctor in your state. I have kept four masks for my immediate family. Please keep on doing what you do so well. Which is to lead. Sincerely, Dennis and Sharon.
“A farmer in northeast Kansas. His wife has one lung and diabetes. He has five masks. He sends one mask to New York for a doctor or nurse, keeps four masks. You want to talk about a snapshot of humanity? You have five masks. What do you do? You keep all five? Do you hide the five masks? Do you keep them for yourselves or others? No, you send one mask one mask to New York to help a nurse or a doctor. How beautiful is that? I mean how selfless is that? How giving is that? You know that’s the nursing home in Niskayuna that sent one hundred ventilators down to New York City when they needed them. It’s that love that courage that generosity of spirit that makes this country so beautiful. And makes Americans so beautiful, and it’s that generosity of spirit, for me, makes up for all the ugliness that you see. Take one mask, I’ll keep four. God bless America.”
Governor Cuomo’s Tweet today:
The full image of the letter
Writer’s IMHO moment:
Mr. Cuomo’s got a history of sharing stories like the one of his mother. We’ve witnessed him take a turn in the middle of speaking and tell of a tale from his past which, in turn, usually helps in the narrative of that which wishes to convey. One half wonders why he isn’t holding some of his press conferences by a fireside. You sit and wonder, why is this man the President of the United States? If there were anyone who could lead America through this horrible crisis, it would be Andrew Mark Cuomo.
The Governor’s mother would of course be the widow of Mario Cuomo who served as Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994 for three terms.
Video of Cuomo speaking his mother and reading the letter from the farmer