Dolley Did It!

There’s a big party in DC tonight, actually about 20 of them!

This is nothing new, there are always several.

Of course this time things might be different.  The Trumps are rather showy.

There’s been much ado about poor Melania not having a proper frock to wear as none of the hoity toity designers will dress the poor child.

Get real!  She’s married to a billionaire who is the President of the United States come noon today.  Someone is going to sell her a dress.

And frankly, all this “don’t dress Melania, let’s not buy from Ivanka, and tell Starbucks to move out of Trump Tower” is just bull, and is of the same ilk as “…we won’t bake for gays…”

Bullying and discrimination are wrong regardless of which way they are meted out.

But, I digress.

As usual.

I mentioned earlier this week that the first inaugural ball wasn’t held until little Jimmy Madison became POTUS.

Washington DC was a big town by the time James and Dolley Madison moved into the White House.  The country was 20 years old, things had changed.

Dolley was always ready for a good time, and at 40 was still a looker. She decided to host a ball to mark the occasion.

The only place available was Long’s Hotel, and Dolley invited 400 people!

Well, invited isn’t exactly the right word. They were given the opportunity to purchase a ticket.

The price, $4.00, outrageous at the time, didn’t stop the tickets from selling out.

A band was acquired, caterers were hired, bakers and confectioners were chosen, flowers, bunting, and decorations hung; it was a big do.

As a matter of fact, the biggest do yet in DC.

Hundreds of candles lit the room and the who’s who of Washington gussied UP in all their best to party with the POTUS.

Dolley, stunning in her fawn colored gown and matching turban with feathers wowed the crowd.  In days, turbans and feathers were all the rage in DC.

Dolley Madison became the first First Lady to set fashion trends.



Dolley, who always sat at the head of the table to relieve her shy spouse of social obligations, ruled the room as she sat between the Ministers of France and Great Britain.  The President sat at the side halfway down the table, his favorite place, as it allowed him to escape the social niceties he hated.

Sitting between two ministers from two nations currently at war, the First Lady kept the boys on their very best behavior.  It was truly a coup de grace for the woman most of Washington thought was shallow and vapid.

She, like many to follow her proved them wrong.

And it all came about because she wanted to celebrate her husband’s good fortune and achievement.

Now, two centuries and several inaugural balls later, what the First Lady wears, how she styles her hair, what jewelry she has on, and with whom she speaks set the tone for the next four years.

Not bad, Dolley, not bad.

Everyone Gets A Turn.

As he lay dying, the father turned to his heartbroken son and said simply, “This is the way it is son, everyone gets a turn.”

But the son didn’t want it this way.

Even though he’d had his father for 50 years, it was still way too soon.

Thirty years later, the son found himself at the end.

It was then he looked at his son and realized his father was right.

Everyone gets a turn.

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was turn.

My Thirteenth Year

Marie Bryant joins us this week in the Six Sentence Story challenge.

The cue word is “turn.”

Mom spent most of her day, every day, taking care of six kids in ways for which we’ll be forever grateful, in ways we probably didn’t appreciate until we got older.

So when she woke us up on Sunday mornings to get ready for church, we sometimes grumbled, but always obeyed, and dressed quickly to be ready to go when she opened the front door.

At thirteen, my thoughts were mostly about my giggly friends, what I was wearing to school the next day, and the boy sitting next to me in study hall; yet what I didn’t know was that the most important person I’d ever meet came from that church.

He knocked on our door, that humble, genuinely loving man, and sat down on the back porch of our shabby little rental home in town.

“Do you know the Lord?” he gently asked as he turned to face Mom, Dad, and the four oldest of us kids.

That wonderful man, Rev. Brads, the man who became more special to me than my own dad, the one who cared enough to sit and explain to me how to accept Christ as my Savior – he changed my life that year, and I will eternally be grateful.

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

Peaceful Transfer

We as a nation are noted for our peaceful transfer of power every four to eight years.

Of course, we’re not the only nation to pull this off, France and The United Kingdom do as well, but nobody does it like we do.

Barack Obama and Donald Trump can and did trash one another on the campaign trail, but come this Friday, all will be peaceful – on their part at least.

There may be an ass or two in the crowd.

And, even though we do this like no other, the folks leaving the White House aren’t always best buds with the folks going in.

To be sure, most of the time the outgoing POTUS is present when the new one is sworn in, and most of the time, every former President alive shows UP for the party.

George HW Bush won’t be there and neither will Jimmy Carter; both are nonagenarians, so they get a pass.

The Obamas, The GWBushes, and The Clintons are slated to appear.

Frankly, that makes me proud.

But there have been a few who sent “their regrets.”

John Adams left town prior to Thomas Jefferson’s taking over.  They were bitter rivals and it was a rivalry that lasted until the day they died – literally the day they died as they died on the same day!

Adams’ son John Quincy skipped rival Andrew Jackson’s big day.  Bitter enemies, political foes, as Jackson was sure Adams had stolen the presidency from him the first go around.

Andrew Johnson felt it best he not attend the inauguration of Ulysses Grant.  Johnson’s having been impeached, but not removed from office, left a stain on his presidency, and I’m sure he was done!

Of course, when Gerald Ford was sworn in, Nixon was already on his way to San Clemente, but the transfer was peaceful nonetheless.

But, there have been times when the outgoing and incoming Chief Executives had simply put on a good show.

It could not have been easy for Jimmy Carter to smile and congratulate Ronald Reagan after the bitter campaign they both fought.  Nor could it have been easy for George HW Bush to greet The Clintons with open arms after several weeks of “…it’s the economy, stupid…”

Herbert Hoover hated FDR, and referred to him as “…a chameleon on plaid,” implying that FDR would say anything to get elected.

Don’t they all?

Hoover took his shellacking badly.  The months between the election were filled with Hoover’s pleas for FDR’s support for his policies, but FDR would have nothing to do with it.

The day before FDR was sworn in Mrs. Hoover invited the Roosevelts to the White House for tea.  As the tense meeting came to an end, FDR tried to make his inability to stand UP without help seem trivial; Hoover looked at him and said, “…once you have been in office a while, you will realize the President of the United States waits for no one, “ and walked out.

Mrs. Hoover was left to deal with the Roosevelts.

The following day as they headed to the Capitol, Hoover smiled as he greeted his successor.  But, once in the car he refused to carry on a civil conversation with the New Yorker.  Not knowing, or not realizing the cameras were rolling, he sat in silence.

FDR recovered by waving his top hat to the crowd and smiling the big smile a nation would come to love.

Truman and Eisenhower were much the same.

But it didn’t start out that way.  Truman suggested in 1948 that IKE run for office and Truman would be his VEEP!

When IKE decided to run as a Republican, things fell apart. Truman campaigned for Adlai Stevenson, the Democrat of course, and trashed IKE daily.

IKE caved to GOP pressure and failed to defend his friend and comrade George Marshall.  Truman saw this as treachery, and when IKE allowed himself to be photographed with Joseph McCarthy, well, HST had had it!

He said, “This much is clear to me;  A man who betrays his friends in such a fashion is not to be trusted with the great Office of President of the United States.”

IKE was pissed.

But, IKE won.

In a move that was meant to be a kind gesture, Truman arranged for IKE’s son John to be flown home from Korea to attend his father’s inauguration.  IKE was afraid it would be viewed as his son getting special treatment.  Things started to boil over on the big day in 1953, and IKE had threatened to break tradition and refuse to ride with Truman in the procession.  But, he caved and they two sniped at one another the entire way.

Eisenhower asked Truman – only moments before he was sworn in – “I wonder who is responsible for my son John being ordered to Washington from Korea? I wonder who is trying to embarrass me?”

Truman, still the Commander in Chief said, “The President of the United States ordered our son to attend your inauguration.  The President thought it was right and proper for your son to witness the swearing in of his father to the Presidency.  If you think somebody was trying to embarrass you by this order, then the President assumes full responsibility.”


A few minutes later, IKE was the POTUS, and Truman was on his way to Missouri.

IKE did send a thank you note for Truman’s kind gesture.  But the two were never cordial, never buddies, and Truman wasn’t hesitant to be critical of the new President.

The two men didn’t bury the hatchet until they met at JFK’s funeral, when they shared a limousine to and from the cathedral.  When IKE dropped Truman off, he invited the Eisenhowers UP for a drink.  There in the sad gloom after JFK’s service they put their long bitterness aside, finally setting an example we can follow.

The transfer of power, well, it’s not perfect, but it’s peaceful.