Friday, November 12, 2010

My Encounter With A Former President

Former president, George H. W. Bush is one of the presidents of my time that I would enjoy meeting, which is why my unlikely encounter with him in 2000 remains a highlight in my writing career.

I’ll try to make this as brief as possible, but a bit of background is needed.

One morning, The Man and I drove to College Station to visit the George Bush Library. As long as I’ve been old enough to notice, I’ve admired George and Barbara Bush for a number of reasons. One, I think they are modest and down-to-earth people—the kind of folks a country girl like me could share a pot of beans with and feel totally at ease. But more important, I always appreciated the fact that Mr. Bush displayed great leadership skills during his presidency. As former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said, “When George Bush was president of the United States, every single head of government in the world knew they were dealing with a genuine leader.”

The George Bush Library impressed me so much that I came home and wrote about it, and on September 24, 2000 the piece was published in The Dallas Morning News, along with a great drawing of the former president, by Randy Mack Bishop.

A few days later, I walked to the mailbox and discovered a package addressed to me. The return address was from my then-editor at The Dallas Morning News, so I thought nothing of it, except I noticed it was a lot bigger than the normal envelope that he usually sent my tearsheets in, following publication.

I opened the bulky package and inside was yet another package, addressed to me, in care of The Dallas Morning News—with a return address from the "Office of George Bush."

My mouth fell open. I think my knees even shook a little. What on earth was going on?

Inside the package was a personal note from the former president, saying that he had read the column I wrote about his library, and how much he enjoyed it.

He had enclosed an inscribed soft-cover copy of his fascinating book, All the Best, and said he hoped I enjoyed reading it “half as much” as he enjoyed reading my article. And then, in his own handwriting, as a post-script to the note, he penned, “Dayle – We ran out of hard cover copies—not one in the office—so sorry.”

By this time, I was in a bit of shock and sitting down. And, for some reason, there were tears in my eyes. Silly perhaps, but to think that a former president actually read what I wrote in a newspaper was humbling enough within itself. Add to that the fact that he took the time to dictate a letter, then add a hand-written note at the bottom, then inscribe a book to me, then have someone get it all together and mail it to me, in care of the newspaper, well ... I was deeply honored and humbled and overwhelmed. And that’s putting it mildly.

A few days later, I wrote to thank him for his kindness and generosity, and to let him know he had given me an unforgettable moment as a writer. 

Even a decade later, the memory of this still warms my heart.



  1. Dayle, I can see why it would warm your heart. I too share the same sentiments about him. Just our perception, was the same of he & Mrs. Bush, humble. So excited your shared a little of your "wow" moments with us!
    Have a great weekend. Sounds like rain is coming from that way.

  2. WOW Dayle!! I too would have been soo overwhelmed and excited by this...what a wonderful thing for him to do. And yet so goes along with the character that he always displayed. Such a great president. Can't tell you how I enjoyed this story. Have a wonderful week-end. HUGS

  3. It's such a surprise when someone "famous" responds to you. What a great honor!
    I admire Mr. Bush and especially Mrs Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush is the one person who I would love to sit down and chat with.

    You just never know who is reading what you write!

  4. What a lovely story, Dayle!!! How wonderful of him to respond to you...but, you know, I think that was the kind of man he was/is.

    When he lost the election in 1992, I was greatly saddened, and I wrote him a letter at the White House (before he left office) and told him I would be sorry to see him go. Do you know that in response to my letter I received an autographed photo of him and Mrs. Bush.

    Actually, I am a fan/supporter of both H.W. and W., and this week, for about the first time in my life, I watched the Oprah Winfrey Show, to see her interview with #43. He looked great, and I loved hearing him talk about how much he loved his parents. Definitely a terrific family...and two terrific men.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.


  5. Wow, that must have been awesome receving a letter from a president.

  6. Dayle,
    Your perception of the man was right on...a down-to-earth, humble person. I also admire both former presidents and their wives and I think they gave the office of President the dignity that it deserved and deserves. What a
    !wow! moment for you and your family!


  7. Oh, Dayle, how very exciting for you! An absolutely wonderful story!

  8. Dayle, that story rocks! I love it! What a great guy!

  9. What a wonderful you will cherish always! I'm so glad I happened to see your blog and get a chance to read this! This really warms my heart! I have such respect for the Bush family! What an honor to hear from President Bush personally! ♥

  10. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing this great story about such a great leader.

  11. Thanks for sharing that special encounter. Personally I admire both Bush presidents. My father-in-law was in congress with the elder Bush in the sixties. and we have a hand written note that says "Let's do lunch sometime. GB" Not nearly as impressive as yours!

  12. Omgosh, I am sooo impressed...with the both of you. :)
    Like you, I have been in love with both George and George W. They are the best presidents we ever had...and so down to earth, friendly, caring and above all Christians.
    How nice of you to write such a pleasing article and how nice of him to send you a thank you.
    Both of you are very blessed.

    Now, I'm going to link with you on, see ya then. :)

  13. Such a kind soul he is, and I remember the article as being a great one.

  14. oh my goodness - that is so awesome!!!

  15. I remember having read this ... and enjoyed it just as much today as I did then. He certainly defined the meaning of a 'Class Act.'


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle