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Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: If you can’t stand the heat ...

  • Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen,” but Dwight D. Eisenhower apparently enjoyed the heat, because he loved to go into the kitchen and fry a little bacon and hot cakes, he claimed it was relaxation.

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  • Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen,” but Dwight D. Eisenhower apparently enjoyed the heat, because he loved to go into the kitchen and fry a little bacon and hot cakes, he claimed it was relaxation. There are also other ways that presidents have managed to escape the high temperature of the Oval Office. Franklin D. Roosevelt often ended his day by puttering with his stamp collection, while Truman started his day with a brisk walk. Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan were both fond of horseback riding, while Richard Nixon and Truman were both piano players.
    Of course, Lyndon Johnson always loved his dogs, especially “Yuki the dog.” The two of them loved to get down and howl at the moon together. Johnson also spent a lot of time at his LBJ Ranch, sometimes punching cattle and sipping beer from a paper cup. Johnson’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey, said that a rest for LBJ was nothing but controlled frenzy.
    Harry Truman was not much of an outdoorsman, but he did enjoy a little fishing. He fished with his buddies on the Little Blue River, the Missouri River, the Puget Sound in Washington state, and aboard the presidential yacht in the Florida Keys. Truman never actually owned a summer getaway, but did enjoy spending his time off during the summer months at his home on North Delaware in Independence, which was affectionately called the Summer White House. In the wintertime he preferred to put on a colorful Hawaiian shirt and vacation at the U.S. Naval Base in Key West, Fla.
    George W. Bush could easily be our most athletic president while serving in the Oval Office. “I am not a nap guy. Exercise is like a nap to me – very important,” Bush said. He was a runner, taking up the hobby during his 40s, and has turned in a time of just under 44 minutes for the 10K (6.2-mile) run, a very fast time for his age group. Bush also lifted weights to relax and keep in shape.
    Bill Clinton was known for playing the saxophone, and if my memory serves me correct, Clinton did just that on the Arsenio Hall Show during his first presidential campaign.
    John Kennedy was an ardent sailor and enjoyed several getaways at the Kennedy family’s vacation homes at both Hyannis Port, Mass., and Palm Beach, Fla.
    Eisenhower loved to go quail hunting, and Teddy Roosevelt loved big game safaris. Once when Teddy spared the life of a bear cub while hunting in Wyoming, the press made such a big deal out of it that the Teddy Bear was created.
    Being an artist myself, I always had a certain connection with Ike, because he would sometimes paint a picture to get away from it all. You cannot concentrate on a masterpiece and be thinking of something else, so he saw it as a good way to clear his head from the day’s pressures. Mamie Eisenhower grew up in Denver, so Ike always had a fond affection for the Colorado Rockies. Immediately after winning the Republican nomination at the 1952 convention in Chicago, Eisenhower took off with his friend Aksel Nielson to vacation at Nielson’s ranch near Frazier, Colo. Ike was also probably our best known president at playing golf, and the Cherry Hills Golf Course in Colorado was one of his favorites. He also managed stretches of time in the fresh air of Camp David.
    Page 2 of 2 - Let’s not forget that Gerald Ford was also an exuberant golfer. He actually became famous for hitting the spectators on the noggin. Bob Hope often made the joke, “The president hit two bogeys, two double bogeys, and two spectators.”
    Reference: Portraits of the Presidents by Hugh Sidney.
    In cooperation with The Examiner, Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior, or school groups.
    To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to teddystillwell@yahoo.com or call him at 816-252-9909.
     
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