Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, President Eisenhower

                                                 Image from Wikipedia

    Dwight David Eisenhower was born this day in 1890.  He was a 5-star U. S. Army general who had basically won World War II in Europe and was ready for retirement.  When the Republicans found him playing golf and urged him to run for President in 1953, he thought it would be a nice way to spend his retirement. He won, but maybe because he picked that cute Richard Nixon as his running mate.

    He was not handsome; in fact, he looked kind of like a light bulb.  His wife, Mamie, was nice, but made unfortunate choices in her hair stylist. Every time my Mama cut my bangs when I was little, I would cry and say I looked just like Mamie Eisenhower.  I still say it sometimes when my stylist gets scissor-happy.  Anyway, you can see how the country fell in love with the Kennedys when they came along a few years later.

    It is said that President Ike didn't worry about anything. His secretary of state, John Dulles, wanted to free Red China and use the new hydrogen bombs but Ike was a guns-and- tanks man and wasn't interested. He didn't worry about the McCarthy scandal, applying the theory that if you ignore something, it will go away.  The Russians sent up the Sputnik satellite in 1957, and Castro took over Cuba in 1959, and Ike took up oil painting when it was too rainy for golf.  Mamie had most of the interior of the White House painted pink.

    Ike did one outstanding thing that changed forever the way American people live.  He created the Interstate Highway system, allowing us to become mobile people with fancier cars every year.  Before the Interstates, many people never left the state or county they were born in.  Those Interstates (we call them 'the big roads') have made traveling easier for everyone, and I'm thankful to Ike for that.