Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It was Labor Day in the U.S. on Monday, and I was laboring. Not just to get the Premium edition out, but I put it together sitting at the Labor Day rodeo here in Ridgway, Colorado.

Yeah, a “real,” sanctioned, pro-level rodeo event, held at our fairgrounds every year. They can’t run unless there’s an ambulance standing by, and most years Kit and I volunteer for a shift. That’s the way life is in a small, western town!

Royal Wedding

This year was well attended: fashion designer Ralph Lauren has a ranch here (something like 14,000 acres; probably the biggest privately owned parcel in the county). It’s a gorgeous property: I’ve ridden my dirt bike through there, to the base of a 14,000’+ mountain. The ranch house is only about a dozen miles from my house.

Lauren’s son, David, got married at the ranch Sunday to Lauren Bush (granddaughter of former president George HW Bush, and niece of former president George W Bush).

Yes, that means her married name will apparently be Lauren Bush Lauren — or “Lauren Squared” as one reader put it. Nice!

The getaway Cadillac looks to me like a 1957 Eldorado Biarritz. It does say “Just Married” on the trunk, but that’s washed out in the glare.

While George Sr. & Barbara didn’t come to the wedding due to the high elevation here (my house is at 7,500′, or 2,285m), George Jr. — and Bill Clinton — did.

Ralph reserved 100 seats in the rodeo grandstand for wedding guests, so there was the distinct possibility that there would be two former presidents at the rodeo when I was working.

That ends up being both a logistical nightmare, and potentially very interesting. But they didn’t stay around for that bit of Americana that is The Rodeo, and went home right after the wedding. As the duty medic I said “Whew!” The citizen side of me said “Darn!”

(I’ve met Ralph Lauren. Nice guy. He was wearing …Levi’s jeans.)

Royal Schmoyal

My favorite part of the whole thing was the reaction of the locals to the wedding and presidential-level guests: a giant collective “Ho hum.” The Lauren family are great neighbors, for sure. But while some newspapers billed it as a “royal” wedding, the locals hardly thought so. Just another wedding in paradise. Me? I didn’t even look for the bride and groom — just their gorgeous getaway car.*

One thing? If Presidents Bush and Clinton can get along, why can’t our serving politicians? I don’t mean they have to agree with each other all the time, but let’s get things done, guys! Let’s start with a trillion-dollar reduction in annual spending!

Oh by the way: happily, none of the cowboys — or cowgirls (yes, they compete in some events too) — got hurt. Yay.

– – – – –

*That reminds me of a joke. A farmer posts in the personals:

Young farmer looking for a young wife. Must be willing to bear children, know how to cook, not be afraid of some hard work, and own a tractor. Send photo of tractor.

Tangentially Related: My visit to the White House in the final days of the Bush reign.

14 Comments on “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

  1. Perhaps I’m missing something (or maybe my nationality is to blame for missing things that every Red Blooded American(tm) knows) but why were the Bush, Sr.s a “no show” because of the altitude? George scared of heights or something?

    Many people, especially the elderly, have significant problems breathing at altitude. Our EMS agency transports a good dozen people a year to the hospital because they can’t deal with the thin air here. -rc

  2. You would have thought that with all that money they could have afforded decent level lawn to park the wedding car on.

    I prefer to think he does it the way I do: I personally “don’t believe in” lawns — I leave my land wild. Lawns are slavemasters. -rc

  3. David, George Bush the elder is extremely elderly (87) at this point, and Mrs. Bush is in poor health.

    They live in Houston, which is about 10 feet above sea level on the Texas Coast. The wedding was 1000 miles inland and 1.5 miles up. That’s a big pressure change and a long flight for their age and health. The last thing you want to do at your granddaughter’s wedding is die while attending (especially since your death would greatly outweigh the importance of her wedding).

  4. Thanks for asking that, David! I was going to blame my LAI* if I had to ask the question.

    *LAI = Low Altitude Ignorance

    And I live near the Rockies!

  5. Most commercial aircraft are pressurised to the equivalent of 8000 feet — the first one to plan a lower cabin altitude is the new Boeing 787. I assume those who fly regularly would have no problem, but maybe the mountain passes used to reach your area are higher, such as the Eisenhower Tunnel on I70 at 11159 feet.

    In this area, one commonly flies into Telluride (at 9,078 feet or 2,767m, the highest commercial airport in North America) or Montrose (5,759′). The thing about sitting on an airplane is, you’re not exerting yourself (unless attempting to join the Mile High Club), so most people can handle the hour or three at altitude. -rc

  6. Lauren Bush is The GRAND DAUGHTER of George & Barbera Bush, not their niece.

    Yes, we old-timers are very sensitive to high altitudes, esprcially those of us with COPD.

    I’m unclear what your correction is about. Check the essay again, and you’ll see I was completely accurate about the relationships between Lauren and George & Barbara Bush. -rc

  7. As for your question about serving politicians getting along to actually solve problems, rather than exacerbate them, I’d have to blame the media. No, not the “liberal” media nor the “conservative” media, but the Media in general. They make their living from heightening the sensational, and exploiting the political differences is their fuel.

    “You supply the pictures; I’ll supply the war! ~William Randolph Hearst, 1898

    But I was mystified to first discover that political enemies in government could actually be personal friends. My memory is starting to fade, but it seems I remember Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill being friends on a personal level. G. Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary was another unlikely duo.

    But speaking of Tip O’Neill, he was fond of stating that “all politics is local.” Meaning that voters did NOT elect a politician to send a message to higher powers, but specifically to represent the locals against those higher powers. What’s good for farming in the Midwest is NOT what’s good for industry in the Northeast nor is it good for tourism in the West.

    A low approval rating for Congress means that it IS doing its job, which is not rubberstamping the agenda of an Imperial President (of EITHER Party). The Legislative branch IS supposed to keep the Executive branch in check (and vice versa). And, yeah, spending’s got to come under control, across ALL “sacred cows”.

    I can go along with pretty much all of this, except that a low approval rating means they’re doing their jobs well. -rc

  8. My only point about the low approval ratings is that if you pursue them further, you’ll find that most people are dissatisfied with Congress in general, but not necessarily of their own particular representative. In other words, it’s all those other guys in Congress who are the problem.

    That’s definitely true: we see that in elections nearly every term…. -rc

  9. Congress, alas, like our Canadian governing party, are all pwned by Big Business. So long as they get enough moola to bamboozle the voters another time, they are able to just grease their golden pigsty/parachute.

    I sure wish I could say “not true” …but I wouldn’t believe it even if I could bring myself to say it. -rc

  10. Now she can introduce herself like James Bond!

    “The name’s Lauren, Bush Lauren!”
    Dum dadadum dummm
    dum dum da dum dadadum dumm
    dum dum da doo dah – dum doo daaaaah!

  11. I like the attitude of your locals to the “big wigs” in attendance.

    As for the political comments, I find it more an issue of voting for the least worst option. Which is just a sad state of affairs.

  12. @Scott-the Colony:

    Vote Cthulhu! Why settle for the lesser evil? 😉

    Cthulhu is a fictional character that first appeared in the short story “The Call of Cthulhu” by HP Lovecraft, published in the pulp magazine “Weird Tales” in 1928. The undersea-imprisoned Cthulhu is the apparent source of constant anxiety for mankind, and is also the subject of worship by a number of evil cults in the stories. -rc

  13. Cool car! I wonder if they would swap it for my 1984 toyota pickup – I will throw in the camper shell.

    Forget Cthulhu – go with the flying spaghetti monster!!!

  14. I think it was neat — the site for the wedding, the hoopla about it being a ‘royal’ wedding. Doesn’t matter. At least we weren’t inundated with tedious TV specials about her dress or bridesmaids, and nasty comments about some of the guests’ hats. No snide remarks about anything, but best of all… the ride, yeah.

    Truly, the best of all.


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