Write Again…It was once in a lifetime

Published 3:15 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The day before this column was written, Rosalyn Carter died. We learned that she haddementia, and was being provided hospice care.

She and her devoted husband had been married seventy-seven years. Theirs was, as manyattest, an equal partnership, including his time as Governor of Georgia, and President of theUnited States.

President Carter’s post-presidency years, decades, were more fruitful, more beneficial tothose with specific needs, around the world, than any president who ever lived. Hyperbole thisis not.

Those who know history will acknowledge that Jimmy Carter’s presidency was far moresignificant than most knew. A Naval Academy graduate, who served on a nuclear submarine,his accomplishments were overshadowed by the capture of American hostages in Iran.

Once, when asked of Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil of Massachusetts, longtime member ofCongress, who was the smartest president he served with and observed, he immediatelyreplied, “Jimmy Cahter.” Just google it.

It was my special privilege to be invited to the White House in the summer of 1980, when I sawand heard him make a presentation about an initiative to help small business.

I received the invitation by writing his press secretary, Jody Powell, and Rep. Walter B. JonesSr, inquiring about the possibility. It worked!

Not knowing where to park when I got to DC., I searched until I found a spot in front of the TreasuryDepartment. I left a note under the windshield wiper explaining I was from North Carolina(Manteo) and hoped parking here was okay, and that I had been invited to the White House.

While inside, a reporter told me that at 4:00 p.m. all cars in and around that area had to leave. Oh,my.

He said that my car would probably be towed away. What a happy thought.

Well. When I left the White House, sure enough, all streets surrounding it were devoid of vehicles.Lord help me.

Except . . . except I spotted my blue, tiny Fiat, right where I had parked it! Thank you, thank you, toa kind, understanding D.C. policeman.

True story.

Note -My great-uncle, David Franklin Houston, was Secretary of the Treasury during theWilson presidency (he was first, however, Secretary of Agriculture) so parking in front of one ofhis former workplaces seemed serendipitous.