Saturday, September 5, 2015

In Hyde Park New York, Wilbo Passes Early Evening in the Company of Eleanor and Franklin in 1933, Visits the Rose Garden Where the Roosevelts Rest Eternal.

In Hyde Park, find history and culinary excellence that will make history. Two sets of initials explain the choices, FDR and CIA. FDR is Franklin Delano Roosevelt and CIA is Culinary Institute of America. The two stand on great estates between the Hudson River and US-9. The grounds remain open until sundown at FDR's birthplace. Eleanor has a cottage compound to the east of town; however, the twentieth century's prototypical power couple are shown greeting guests here, sitting on different chairs, at corners to one another and yet elbow to elbow. Canadian geese are feasting on the fields of the estate, rolls of fodder visible from the roadways in paddocks bounded by limestone walls. A small orchard by the library has limbs laden with apples and pears. A few have fallen; geese roll the fruits over grass and nibble quickly.

I am seated at the elbow of Franklin in bronze. Eleanor and Franklin sent these smiles into history in 1933, the photograph preserved in the presidential library. Franklin wears his Phi Beta Kappa from his lapel and a signet ring on his ring hand pinky. The diamond solitaire on Eleanor's hand has a modest size, just large enough to flash as good carat and cut flashes. If it weren't bronze.

He passed from this life at Warm Springs, Georgia, where rehabilitation as a science gave him mobility in a pool of water heated by volcanic power. It will be a short walk to a Rose garden near the mansion, a garden to mark the final resting place of a man who fought Nazism, bargained with Bolshevism and left a strong thread of communism woven into the American fabric. Elected president four times, he would be humored by the concept of term limits.

I stop for American presidents, looking for a history lesson plus a short course in myth making. I visited Reagan's Presidential Library high on a Californian mountain and sent my father home a hat from the US Ronald Reagan, a hat he wore proudly and yet thought it had come from a distant relative. I dropped in on Billy Clinton's library in Little Rock long enough to have lunch and be impressed by the warm welcomes given by all employees. In Northern Texas, I relaxed on the grounds of a boyhood home where Dwight Eisenhower came of age, a farm near the tracks of the Katy railroad line. No one guarded the farm and I enjoyed a picnic in peace.

The power of the American presidency was made clear to me when I visited Warm Springs during a business trip to Georgia. I enjoyed a dinner of ribs and potato salad at outdoor tables of a diner rushing to close with the dusk. One man conversed with help of a voice synthesizer, similar to Stephen Hawking. He was talking to a man in a mobile wheelchair that seemed more modern than most. All were patients who had found rehabilitation at the Warm Springs hospital established in Franklin's memory.

Eleanor and Franklin have books on the table. I am certain Hyde Park has tasty and yet less literary fare in town.
 — at Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.

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