In 1986, my mother took the train down to New York City to participate in Hands Across America, a fundraising initiative that involved about 6.5 million people who came together on May 25 of that year to stand hand in hand, attempting to make an unbroken chain of people across the continent, raising about $34 million dollars to fight hunger, homelessness, and poverty. At the time, I rolled my twenty-something-year-old eyes at her and at this impossibly hokey event. Puh-leez. Now when we visit, she and I look over the photographs of all the places she’d been and things she’s done. She is 96 now, and we get to the ones from Hands Across America, I have to explain, every time, what this was. And every time, I choke up. My still-jaundiced, still-ironic self now finds that impossibly hokey event incredibly moving, incredibly sweet. Silly, perhaps, but sweet. And not without significance. And wonder if we as a country are past that kind of simple act, millions of people amassing to hold hands with strangers who hold hands with strangers who hold hands with strangers all across the stretch of the country. As if we were one. As if we were all in this fucking thing together.