It was 1990 when President Miguel Angel Calderon was taking the oath of office in Costa Rica. The country values immensely its relationship with the U.S.A. particularly when it comes to protecting freedom from the totalitarian threats so common in Latin America. And the U.S. delegation to the event was led by one of the greatest ladies the U.S. has ever had at its commanding heights: Barbara Bush.
I was part of the delegation of Venezuela led by Carlos Andres Perez. When both met, Mrs Bush warmly indicated “my husband seems to be very fond of you. I trust you both bring our countries closer together. I like Latin America a lot. So, does George and all my children. I have Latino grandchildren.”
“Both you and your husband are honorary Latin Americans,” President Perez responded. Mrs. Bush laughed and closed the brief exchange with “Will I keep the title when speaking my mind?” President Perez’s retort was “Especially when you speak your mind.”
And that will perhaps be Barbara Bush’s trademark: the lady who was sure of herself and strong enough to always speak her mind.
She adorned truth with wit and humor but when it came to principles, she was the enforcer.
No feet on top of the coffee table even when you hold the highest office in the land.
Clean hands at the dinner table and punctuality for every event were rules not to be bent.
Good and hearty laughter was the best present to be shared with friends. Children and grandchildren could count on a warm affection but also on sentinel for principles and decorum.
She embraced the cause of literacy convinced that reading was the door to success in life. The U.S. flag was not to be burned but to be loved and cuddled and broccoli would be served at her table despite husband’s George dislike for the vegetable.
And just as she created a world around her family that facilitated the ascent to high office for her husband and her son, she organized her departure. For her it was vital to bid farewell to her family in the same soft but firm way she had approached her living experience. Her elegant demeanor did not waver once throughout her rich and fruitful life. The world today mourns the passing of a lady who never compromised truth or elegance at the altar of power.
Published by LAHT.com on April 23rd, 2018