President's Day: Untold stories abound
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 1:00 AM
Since Presidents’ Day is fast approaching, it is appropriate that three of the books I’m currently juggling on my Kindle Fire are “Lady Bird and Lyndon,” “The General Vs. The President” (MacArthur and Truman) and “The Wars of the Roosevelts.”
To my surprise, the upcoming holiday really is still Washington’s Birthday. Although we’ve been brainwashed into calling it Presidents’ Day for decades, the change was never made official. Similarly, the Tomb of the Unknowns is still technically Sure As Tarnation Looks Like Hiram To Me.
Thanks to Smithsonian.com and other websites, I’ve been able to assemble some fascinating presidential trivia for you. Thanks to my anonymous sources, I’ve also been able to ENHANCE that trivia.
For instance, you probably knew that four presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama) received the Nobel Peace Prize. There were actually SEVEN, but the mainstream media decided not to let the other three know, distracting them with comically large checks from Publishers Clearinghouse.
Eight presidents were born British subjects. This explains why early drafts of the Declaration of Independence contained the line “We hold these truths to be a jolly good show, eh, wot?”
Presidents have had wildly different relationships with the telephone. Calvin Coolidge refused to use the device while in office, but William McKinley was the first to campaign by telephone and Grover Cleveland personally answered the phone at the White House. (“Is my ice box running? Do I have Prince Albert in a can? What I’ve got is Secret Service agents who are going to track you down, you impudent whippersnapper!”)
Millard Fillmore and his wife installed the first library, bathtub and kitchen stove in the White House; but Fillmore is treated as a joke nowadays. (“Who do you have to get assassinated by to get some respect around here?”)
Andrew Jackson was the first president to ride a railroad train. I understand that Old Hickory exulted, “I recommend it for anyone, except, um, for Native Americans, who would do much better WALKING great distances. Quit looking at me like that!”
Ulysses S. Grant was the first president to run against a woman candidate (Virginia Woodhull of the Equal Rights Party). Grant’s proclamation of “War is hell” was speedily met with “Wearing a corset ain’t no Sunday picnic, either, Chuckles.”
Harry S Truman was president at the time of whatever happened at Roswell. Historians are still trying to figure out what he meant when he blurted out, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the quantum-fusion regenerator.”
The tradition of playing “Hail To The Chief” whenever a president appeared at a state function was started by John Tyler’s second wife. (Maybe there wouldn’t have BEEN a second wife if the first hadn’t insisted that “Send In The Clowns” be played at state functions.)
William Taft owned the last presidential cow. This explains why there wasn’t talk of another “shovel-ready project” for another century.
Rutherford B. Hayes banished liquor and wine from the White House. But it took First Lady “Lemonade Lucy” Hayes to stop his cabinet’s plan of making “One Toke Over The Line” the national anthem.
I trust you’ll use February 20 to honor ALL our chief executives.
Unlike at Disney’s Hall of Presidents, where if Warren G. Harding or James Monroe goes on the fritz, the official protocol is “Let It Go, Let It Go.”