Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Road To (& From) the White House

Yes, we did it. Jenny joined me and we had a great celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 150th Birthday with President & Mrs. Bush at the White House on Monday, October 27. All the way through it was WOW and all the way after it’s been WOW again.

It was an honor and privilege to reprise TR for the President and for an East Room full of honored guests, many associated with TR’s legacy as family, public servants and leaders. I was blessed to have met my goals: to do TR well and to bring some laughter and enjoyment to the President, his family and guests. I hope you enjoy the video clip at which includes Mrs. Bush, Professor John Cooper, TR Joe, Job Christenson, Joel Gilbertson and President Bush. If you watch the beginning closely, you’ll see Jenny, beautiful and radiant, escorted to her seat behind the President.

I could go on, ala TR’s military aide and Sewanee man Archie Butt, with a letter describing the party, but I’ll leave that to Jenny. I enjoyed meeting guests and taking pictures – the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral according to Alice, right?

Taking pictures after with President & Mrs. Bush, I actually remained in character and told President Bush, from my own (TR’s) experience, that if he felt called to a third term he should lie down until the feeling passed, though I acknowledged the need to amend the Constitution if he were so inclined. I realized I may have left the President wondering just how crazy this TR really is.

Guests were so gracious. I especially enjoyed performing for Jim Bruns, President of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (, Bob Model, Chairman of Boone & Crockett (, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, men whose organizations highly regard TR's legacy. What a thrill to bring TR to life for a very knowledgeable and appreciative group of American patriots.

Celebrating in our hotel room with friends from the St. Lawrence River and Sewanee (Thanks, Lee, Elizabeth, Daniele, Peter & Ashley!), Jenny and I finally crashed at 4:00 AM. I was up at 6:00AM and at 8:00 AM I was showcasing for Forest Service officers in Northern Virginia. The next two and a half days were highlighted by an amazing visit to Pine Knot, the rustic Roosevelt family retreat in the mountains south of Charlottesville, on to the Theodore Roosevelt Preserve in Southeastern Ohio and the Theodore Roosevelt memorial oak in Cincinnati’s Eden Park. The fall colors, the crisp sun and the exhaustion and thrill of the days conjured windshield day dreams about the months ahead.

Today, I stopped in Spring Valley, Illinois, to visit the John Mitchell memorial, commemorating the United Mine Worker President so illustrative of TR’s Square Deal policies. The day before, October 29, is celebrated by UMW and coal families as John Mitchell Day, in honor of his birthday. So, in just a couple days, I travelled from the White House to the Illinois hometown of a coal man who earned the regard and friendship of a great American president.

It’s been an amazing road to and from the White House. I hope to see you on the road sometime soon.

No comments: