They huffed up a rocky hill and walked along a ridge. They eased down into a clearing by a half-frozen stream, which was where, two days after the election, Ellen had been walking her yellow lab Phoebe, distraught over the results and saying to herself, “If I see her, I see her” when she actually saw her, in the woods: Hillary Clinton coming around a bend.
“Bill was in front,” Ellen said. “And then here came Hillary with her poodle and then the agents. And I’m here, and then we were together, and I just said, ‘What happened?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know. I have no idea.’ And I said, ‘I really admire you. You look great. You’re wonderful.’ I stood there with my arms wide open and I’m not even a hugger and I gave her this big hug. She had on a beautiful sweater. She asked my dog’s name.”
A couple weeks later, Ellen, who calls herself “the Sacagawea of the Arboretum,” let Phoebe off her leash. The dog was bounding ahead full speed when she started barking, and then Hillary and Bill Clinton appeared again, this time with their daughter, Chelsea, Chelsea’s husband and their children. It was the day after Thanksgiving and soon, other hikers were popping out of the woods.
“I had already hugged her so I just said hello and patted her on the arm,” Ellen said. “Don’t ask me why.”