Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

An Evening With the President

On Friday evening, Lisa and I went down to Fernley High School, where we had ticket for an evening with the President.

Lisa and TR

Not the current President, of course, but Theodore Roosevelt, as portrayed by Joe Wiegand. Here Lisa is chatting with him at the end of the show. We'd also briefly interacted with him as we were coming in, as he complimented Lisa on her hat. I spoke to him (it seemed appropriate to address him in character) expressing my great admiration for his involvement with the formation of the US Forest Service. Indeed, it seems likely that had TR not pushed through what is the USFS, I wouldn't be here, because my father wouldn't have followed a path through the USFS that led to him meeting my mother.

Good Evening, Mr. President

This photo taken from a distance during the show didn't turn out as well.

Friday's performance of The Teddy Roosevelt Show, was a benefit for Fernley High School and the Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal, and that's appropriate, because the Truckee Canal and Derby Dam on the Truckee River, which feeds the canal, were the very first project of the Newlands Reclamation Act, authored by Representative (later Senator) Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and signed by President Roosevelt. He (I'll continue to refer to him in character) discussed the act, pointing out that he was able to work in a bi-partisan manner with the other party, and expressed his wish the parties today could return to a spirit of cooperation for the good of the country.

(Aside: Newlands was not a particularly admirable person in other areas, including being an avowed white supremacist who advocated for the repeal of the 15th Amendment; however, the Newlands Reclamation Act made the area where I live habitable.)

We were treated to approximately 90 minutes of a discussion of President Roosevelt's life. He was very good about the anachronisms, starting off with saying, "Spoiler alert: I died in 1919" and, while discussing his repeated attempts to convince the woman who later became is first wife after she told him no, "Today, you'd probably call it 'stalking.'" Also, he was much better at handling the microphone than the people who opened the event and introduced him; that's what Lisa was talking to him about after the show.

He took questions after the show, and I regretted that he ended it before I got a chance to give him a leading question about the formation of the Forest Service so he could tell the story about how he and Gifford Pinchot designated a bunch of national forests just before the law taking away the President's right to do so took effect. I told him about that after the show and he gave me a short precis of the story (with more information than I had hear from growing up on USFS bases) and gave me his card and asked me to write to him about it.

During the show, he talked of how he took a long vacation as President and toured the country, and cracked, "I never played a single round of golf!" While I and a minority of the audience laughed and applauded, a whole lot of other people frowned and/or looked uncomfortable. Fernley voted about 75% Republican in the last election, and I expect a lot of people around here still are heavily supporting the current occupant of the White House.

I had a great time, and today as I looked at the show's exhausting tour schedule, I have even more respect for the man doing it. I said to last night's guest of honor, "Mr. Roosevelt, you are the kind of Republican that I would be happy to vote for today," and I meant it. And I personally suspect that the man who entertained us last night here in Fernley would make a better President than our current one. But I admit that is setting the bar pretty low.
Tags: fernley
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