Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Family Tradition, Sort Of...


My family has a history, of sorts, with a few Vice Presidents of the United States. Well, three of them, so far.

This dates back to my youth when I was detailed (along with a number of my classmates) to help fill the crowd at a speech over at the local junior high school. The town fathers (very few ladies in politics when I was nobbut a lad) didn't want to embarrass our wee town with a low turnout for the august personage of the Vice President of the United States. Which at the time was a Mr. Hubert H. Humphrey. I think he might have been running for President at the time. (Yup, 1968. I was a sophomore in high school. While I grew my humor remained sophomoric, I tell you that in the interests of full disclosure. Besides which I wanted to use the word sophomoric after mentioning that I was a sophomore. Kind of proves my point, doesn't it?)

Anyhoo, I came away from that speech with a number of impressions...
  1. I thought that Mr. Humphrey was one of the most boring speakers on the planet. Perhaps the most boring speaker in history. I have had that supposition proven false on a number of occasions since then. (Most of those boring speakers were generals.)
  2. I thought the speech was agonizingly long. Since that day I've had a few speeches tie that one for length of speechifying. Though on most of those occasions it was a "team effort," i.e. more than one speaker.
  3. I think that speech is where I developed my distaste for politics and politicians. Not that Mr. Humphrey was a bad man, he was just so, I don't know, political?
That was my tribe's first Vice Presidential encounter. (That I am aware of.)

The second and third Vice Presidential encounters were during the Reagan administration. My own encounter with Vice President Bush was fleeting and only in passing. I had to sit in traffic, trying to get home from work, for over an hour. This was at Lowry AFB in Denver. I saw the Vice Presidential motorcade from a distance, and could just make out Mr. and Mrs. Bush in the back of the car. They were not waving at all the stalled motorists. To give the man credit it wasn't his fault that we had to wait for him to pass through. The security of an air force base was considered somewhat better than going through Denver itself.

The third encounter with Vice President Bush didn't involve me, but involved my Mom and Dad. My parents often vacationed in Maine, around Wells. They even had their own place in that lovely town for a few years. You might remember (or not) that the Bush family has a "compound" just up the coast from Wells outside the town of Kennebunkport.

Now one of my parents' favorite restaurants in Wells was frequented by a number of celebrities and at least one Vice President. One day, while talking on the phone with my Mom, she mentioned that they had had lunch at Lord's Seafood and that the Vice President and Mrs. Bush had also been having lunch there. As was Waylon Jennings. (No, he wasn't a Vice President, but a really good country and western singer).

As I was "oohing and aahing" over this celebrity encounter, my Dad yelled in the background, "Hey son! I got to use the same urinal as Vice President Bush!" Very proud he was, and my daughter, The Nuke, mentioned that in passing last night.

Why, you might ask, might a daughter mention to her father a really goofy comment once made by her paternal grandfather? Well, yesterday was the anniversary of my Dad's passing, which she commented upon, after she had mentioned someone she had the chance to say "Hello" to in the pursuit of her duties in the nation's capital.

Her duties sometimes take her to the White House to brief certain staffers who then, I reckon, pass that information along to their superiors. All that aside, she and three of her co-workers were walking outside of the White House, returning to their vehicle to go back to their offices I suppose, when who should appear but the Vice President hisself, Mr. Mike Pence.

My daughter's co-workers were all rather shy and reticent but my daughter, a chip off the old block(head) herself, smiled brightly at the nation's second-in-command. He smiled back, so she followed up the smile with, "Hello, how are you today Sir?"

He offered in return, "Hi, isn't it a beautiful day today?"

As it was, The Nuke concurred and everyone else at that point (save one) offered up their own somewhat belated greetings to the Vice President of the United States. He returned the greetings and continued on his way.

When the others questioned the silent one as to his silence, he could only reply that his wife would probably get mad at him for talking to the Vice President.

I asked The Nuke, after she had relayed that tidbit, "So what, is the guy's wife a liberal? I mean like a raging liberal?"

She replied, "Oh yeah. Big time."

So, the tradition of Vice Presidential encounters pass unto the next generation.

Yup, hobnobbing with the powerful and famous, it's what we do.



22 comments:

  1. Cool stuff there, Sarge. I once had pancakes with Richard Nixon & Barry Goldwater, in 1964. Never mind there were 2,500 other people in the hall.

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    1. Thousand bucks a plate pancakes?

      ;)

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    2. I doubt my parents could have afforded that. Must have been more modest prices, or else we'd have stayed home. :)

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    3. I hear ya Rev. My parents would have done the same!

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  2. I did not vote for President Obama, and I don't think he was particularly successful on many levels. I do not remember hating the man. It seems to me that today's Liberals who love to wave signs saying "Love Trumps Hate" are spilling over with hate...i see no love for anyone or anything from them.

    "Good morning Mr. Vice President" does not signify support, it is civility for a fellow human and respect for a position.

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    1. Roger that.

      Didn't like the Obummer, didn't hate him though. He won, so he was my President. The anti-Trumpers should just STFU and soldier on, like many of us did for eight long years.

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  3. Memories. The first house my ex and I purchased was east of Lowry in 1970. Our back yard abutted 6th Ave. The VIP route ran from Buckley through Lowry (closed to air operations) and on to??? President Nixon's motorcade was passing and we were there to give them a one finger salute as they passed. We weren't particularly anti Tricky Dicky, more anti establishment.

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    1. Ah ha! The brass at Lowery didn't bother explaining that to all of us sitting in traffic. They should have.

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  4. Richard Nixon went to my high school - Whittier HS in Whittier, California.
    Sheesh!

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    1. ...way before I went there, o.c.

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    2. I didn't mind Nixon, not at all.

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    3. Well BC, you're far too young a lass to have gone to school with Nixon. We all knew that. :)

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  5. I have managed, somehow, to avoid close encounters with pols above the level of Governor.
    The closest I have been to a Veep is about 200 yards.
    In ‘57 in made a speech to the scouts attending the Jamboree at Valley Forge.
    Seeing the Thunderbirds the next day was more thrilling.

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    1. Gee, go figure. When are the Thunderbirds - or Blue Angel - not thrilling?

      ;)

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  6. I got to shake President Ford's hand at the White House in '76. I was on the National Staff for Arnold Air Society and we'd been invited to the AFA's national convention. The occasion was the signing of the DOD Budget (you do remember what those are, right, Congress?). I was in an aisle seat towards the back (very, very, very small frog in a very large pond, although the AF Chief of Staff was directly in front of me). At the conclusion, the President walked out down that aisle. Stopped in front of me and shook my hand. My impression of him was that he was HUGE. So, I voted for him a month or so later. We got Carter.

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    1. Yes, President Ford was a big dude, played football at Michigan as I recall (Go Blue).

      Pretty cool that he stopped and shook your hand. A real WWII vet (not the faux type like LBJ).

      Carter ushered in some bad times for the military AND the country. But now we've seen worse.

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  7. A flaming liberal for a military wife? Gee, just have the guy get his picture taken with Sec. Mattis and I bet she'd spontaneously combust.

    Never understood flaming liberal and the military. They really seem on the opposite sides of the spectrum.

    Hope she doesn't queer his future promotions due to being a nutbag.

    Closest I ever got to anyone in the Executive Office was used to work with a Secret Service Agent who got out of the White House protection detail due to the occupants at that time. The agent was old school and only very very veiled comments about the couple from Arkansas were ever made.

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    1. Most of the folks my daughter works with are civilians. There are some who are retired military, some who are active duty.

      I have met a few liberals in the military, most are classic liberals. Not the raging progs you see in some places these days.

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    2. Unfortunately, until and unless Secretary Mattis cleans house in DOD, a flaming liberal for a spouse is probably a career enhancer.

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  8. Closest I ever came to a prominent politician was an afternoon in Philly when I walked past Ed Rendell while he was bloviating at a news crew a block away from my apartment. At the time he was just the mayor of Philadelphia; I didn't dislike him until he became the governor of Pennsylvania with me as his hapless employee. Last I heard he shot himself in the foot politically by being in Camp Clinton. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy....

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  9. Ford was a big guy, and he played football for West Point as a cadet in the 1930s. I saw a photo of him in his football uniform from that time. Those jokes about him playing without a helmet--somewhat true. Leather helmets in those days, and no pads. Football was more about speed and agility than brute strength....

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)