It’s interesting what stays with you when you read, our noble list of leaders lingering like after dinner mints.
Let’s begin with the short of it…
James Madison, being only 5’4 weighing less that 100 pounds.
Must have been like having a Smurf for president.
William Howard Taft on the other hand, was 6 feet and weighed 354 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from playing an elegant game of golf, some say, as graceful as a ballerina.
I would have bought a ticket to that.
George Washington’s teeth, that went on tour and now live in Baltimore, were not wooden. They were actually made of ivory, bone, lead, brass and gold wire.
Imagine him tooling through the metal detector at Kennedy.
Abe, that suave 6’4 guy we all never knew but still love, practically had to tie his wife, Mary, to the bedpost to keep her from shopping. Can you see Mrs. Lincoln with access to the internet? Or how about the Home Shopping Network?
Try explaining that to Congress.
William Henry Harrison, remembered for being the first pres to die in office, did so 33 days after being elected, catching cold, refusing to wear a coat at his inauguration.
Where the hell was Mrs. Harrison, is what I’d like to know. I would have been right up at the podium with a least a sweater.
Now, JFK also refused wearing an overcoat despite being 22 degrees during his address, but didn’t feel the cold since his undisclosed Addison’s Disease made him hotter than a pistol, in more ways than one.
Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, liked eating dinner on snack trays in front of the TV, when Ike wasn’t being presidential that is.
When Mrs. Kennedy arrived, appalled at the drabness of how her predecessors lived, threw them out (the trays, not Ike and Mamie), before giving the whole house a much needed make-over.
Now, can you blame Jackie?
John Quincy Adams, skinny-dipped in the Chesapeake every day regardless of the season. A reporter who was trying to get an interview Mr. Adams refused to give, one morning showed up and sat on his clothes till he talked.
Kinda sounds like Ronan Farrow.
John Adams, John Quincy’s dad, was chubby, always battling weight. Unlike his aquatic son, exercise didn’t seem appealing. Too bad his on and off pal, Thomas Jefferson, hadn’t thought of the treadmill as one of his inventions, since, there’s just so much yoga one can do in a swivel chair.
Speaking of Tom and John, the Hardy Boys of 1776, were like two females fighting one minute, kissing and shopping together, the next.
John was the one who convinced Tom to write The Declaration of Independence, saying, he was the better writer, but when Jefferson became Adam’s successor after not being reelected for a second term, all hell broke loose.
Dr. Benjamin Rush, their mutual friend, reunited them toward the end of their days, resulting in dying on the same day on our country’s 50th Anniversary.
Talk about co-dependence.
FDR and his Missus, as he called Eleanor, fought over the habits of their formidable guest, Winston Churchill, who liked tooling through the White House halls at all hours in his birthday suit while swigging champagne.
My kinda guy, but alas, Eleanor finally had Winnie moved to Blair House, coined the Little White House, to solve the problem.
When in 1950, an assassination attempt was made on Harry Truman at Blair House, where he was staying during White House renovations, he was fast asleep, in his underwear.
Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were fifth cousins. Eleanor Roosevelt was Theodore’s niece. And Uncle Theodore presented the bride at Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s wedding.
I can’t help thinking of Hemingway’s cats with extra toes…all that in-breeding.
Since exercise is an ongoing theme, I’ll end with JFK and his harem romping in the White House pool, accompanied by his trusty secret service who apparently didn’t mind taking a dip alongside their naughty commander-in-chief.
Jackie, who on the weekends, would take the kids to the country, wouldn’t even be out of the driveway before one would say…
coast clear, everyone into the pool.
Talk about a lap dance.
Them were the days alright.