Jenna ~ Laura ~ Barbara
Thursday, October 18, 2018
All partisanship aside, it was most edifying to spend an evening listening to tag - team family anecdotes, heartfelt advocacy for worthy causes, and witty repartee shared amongst the Bush women for the benefit of the audience.
It was fun to receive a couple of autographed biographies:
Spoken from the Heart
Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life
In contrast to the worrisome border stories that currently fill the news, it was almost enchanting to read Laura's early memories of the good times to be had south of the border:
"My mother remembers how everyone parked in El Paso and then, all dressed up, paid six cents to walk across the footbridge into Mexico. Juarez was a glamorous place. . . . The clubs had exotic -- exotic at least for West Texas -- floor shows and orchestras for dancing" (10).
As the years pass, some apprehension creeps in:
"For years, every visit to El Paso included a . . . trip to Juarez. . . . Mother and Daddy would go over at night for dinner . . . In the daylight, it was my turn to cross into Mexico . . . We'd drive to El Paso, park the car, and walk across the barbed - wire - laced bridge with the river draining below. On the other side, [my grandparents] would stop for a Mexican beer; then we headed for the open - air market, which beckoned with baskets, embroidered cotton tops, hand - hewn guitars, and wooden puppets. The pottery was my favorite. I ambled from stall to stall, comparing brightly painted birds and red and green leaves on miniature tea sets, carefully selecting my purchase...
"Afterward, we'd make our way back across the bridge . . . But before we could reenter El Paso each of us had to speak to a U.S. Customs officer. Grammee and Papa made me thoroughly rehearse 'I am a citizen of the United States,' so I would not suddenly go mute and say the wrong thing. As much as I relished those excursions, the returns aways seemed a bit perilous, with the specter of being stuck for days on that bridge, in a concrete and barbed - wire limbo betweeen the United States and Mexico" (36 - 37).
On a humorous note, Laura describes her earliest dinner parties, from the days right after she finished college and moved into an apartment with a friend:
“In our little apartment, Janet and I would host dinner parties and fix King Ranch Chicken, a famous casserole of tortillas, cheese, chicken, and three different cans of soup. Janet’s mother had sent her off with the Abilene Junior League Cookbook, and we thought it was a good cookbook, since most of the recipes called for several cans of creamed soup" (89).I had to laugh because it reminded me of myself and my friends during the same era. As my friend Katy recalled: "My first and best recipe right out of college was from a church cookbook. It used two cans of soup and a cup of mayo. All it needed to be the perfect late mid- century recipe was a box of jello. I I actually googled the recipe for King Ranch Chicken, and it seemed more complicated than I would have thought. But maybe I’ll try it sometime!
You have to admire -- or at least enjoy -- a First Lady who keeps her sense of humor:
"Barbara and Jenna love to tell the story of the time we were standing in a checkout line at Walmart in Athens, Texas, near our little weekend getaway lake house, and a woman kept staring at me, fnally, she said, 'I think I know you,' and I replied, 'I'm Laura Bush,' as if, the girsl liked to point out of course she would know who I was. Her anwer was 'No, guess not.'" (145)I read that passage aloud to Gerry, and I know we'll be saving it to tell repeatedly along with some of our favorite Royal Family Funnies!
Security was tighter for this event, thus
only Gerry was allowed near the dignitary.
Perhaps news of my bad attitude preceded me! Ha!