I first met President George W. Bush when he was decorating his family Christmas tree…
right after he was elected Governor of Texas.
His twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, were just old enough to have their first boyfriends and Jenna screamed “Dad!” in the background when she heard her father mention her current crush during our interview.
Governor Elect Bush was stringing lights on the tree that November afternoon and we nicknamed him the “light-man”, which we’ve joked about ever since.
I was fortunate to be one of the first Texas reporters to interview President Bush in the Oval Office, and one of the last, as the family packed up their belongings in 2009 to head home to Texas. I took my teen-aged baseball playing son with me for that interview. After the cameras were off, the President graciously invited Michael and me to come into the Oval Office, where he autographed one of the baseballs he kept handy. He took the time to explain to Michael some of the historic decisions that had been reached right where we stood.
It’s a moment this mother and her son will treasure forever.
I don’t know if I will get the opportunity to interview President Bush again. I hope so. But if I don’t, this last hour or so I spent with him was a great way to finish our professional relationship. We were surrounded by things he loves most; family mementos, the grand view of history and precious remembrances from America’s pastime.
I can’t think of a more fitting finale.
I’m working on the encore!