Friday, February 02, 2007

You CAN Smoke on Air Force One...


President Ronald Reagan was planning a trip to Missouri and members of several "advance teams" were in the state making prior arrangements on security, transportation, accommodations and a myriad of other details.

Somehow one gentleman searched out and found me - the Missouri Director of Tourism - and we discussed several points of interest around the state. That was my job: finding and promoting such places to encourage tourism and conventions. And even a Presidential visit I suppose.

However, the time frame was tight so none of my great suggestions was actually pursued but it was fascinating to hear what the life of an advance man was like who spoke for "the nation's highest office."

As we parted, he offered me a small souvenir of our meeting. It was a pack of cigarettes from the supply placed aboard the President's plane. I guess I expected a handful of jelly beans.

The unique pack sat on my office desk for a few years then was packed up with the rest of my stuff and carted away when a Governor was elected from the "other" party who had his own candidate for tourism direction in the Show Me state.

One day I came home and saw the opened, empty pack sitting on the kitchen table. My wife at that time commented that she had run out of cigarettes.

Sometimes I wonder where she is now and what she's doing. I hope she quit smoking.

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