Hello li'l ZEN'ers... And how did you feel about Jerry Ford, good old benchwarming Jerry Ford?
I thought contemporaneously, in the 70s, that he was as decent a Republican President, as a post-Nixon wrung-out country could have... until I found out he'd been on the Warren Commission, when I was seven years old, along with such notables as Allen Dulles and John J McCloy... these days, such names make my skin crawl.
What else do we remember, besides his presiding over the Vietnam CUT-N-RUN maneuvers of 1975? How about his Whip-Inflation-Now (WIN) campaign? Asserting never to bail out New York City? Inheriting the inflationary years created by Nixon's departure from the Gold Standard, and how Ford left office when Jimmy Carter trounced him; the only President never to have won an election (until Bush-the-Lesser)!
But I had personal dealings with the 38th President, and you all get to read about that here, in the following series of stories:
Ia. While acting as Bell Captain for a 4Star Marriott Hotel in Vail, Colorado, I was 'cleared' by the US Secret Service for a very important 'mission': after surviving their grueling 5-question interview, I was allowed to 'drive' the hotel elevator (using the exclusivity-key) that took Mr. former President Ford, his charming wife Betty, and Bob Hope (!!!), as well as the accompanying Secret Service contingent, to our roof-top restaurant Windows.
Their entry under my guidance went very smoothly: I wish I could remember the stupid comment that I made, and to which they chuckled... golf-related, I suppose.
SIDEBAR: we had a bad day with a bus-tour-group, and the bluehairs in the bus were very pissed, and rightly so: our sales staff had never told our Front Desk team about a THIRTY-room group: they were like hornets in that bus, and my boss said "Get out there, *ZENmud* and DO SOMETHING!"
So I walked into the mobile hornets' nest, and offered them apologies, as well as a chance of a lifetime: if they agreed to disembark, I could promise them front row 'seats' as Bob Hope and Jerry Ford came into the hotel for a visit... they were awestruck, and my boss complimented my momentary lapse into brilliance... :-)~
Ib. Sometime in July of 1984, I welcomed ex-President Ford, ex-Prime Minister Giscard d'Estaing, and ex-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt into that same hotel... for a Jerry Ford World Economic Forum...
II. A year or so later, at the annual Jerry Ford Golf Tournament, I was with a radical-Republican friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (it's not his fault... heh heh), and we were out at the Singletree Golf Club, when Jerry drove up with Bob Hope, again, in a cart... we were alone near the spectator-control rope as the famous duo approached; I held up voluntarily the rope so Mr. Ford could pass by, little knowing that he'd aim the cart exactly onto my right foot, which hurt about as much as if Rosie O'Donell sat on it...ie: not bad! :-))
III. Another year gone by, another story: I now knew a couple of the US SS that hung out annually with Jerry's Vail contingent, and once, for a Crosby, Stills and Nash acoustic concert in Vail, I was late to work the bar, and rode up, unthinkingly leaving me without my massive lock, for my racing bicycle.
I saw one of the agents I knew (Let's call him Jim), and he saw that I WAS PISSED off at myself... "what's wrong?" he said.
"I left my fuckin' bike lock at home, and have to work the bar... is Jerry here?"
"Yes, and how are you going to protect your bike? Want me to watch it?"
"Could you watch a radical Democrat's bicycle, while protecting the Lincoln of a establishment Republican ex-president?" I smiled...
"No problem, but: keep your eye on us, if we have to leave early, you're on your own!"
So there you go; Jerry, I think your claim to fame was giving Beaver Creek, Colorado, an early and important boost of legitimacy, as it grew to be one of the great young resorts of the Colorado Rocky Mountains... and who did pay for your Four Million dollar (1983?) retirement home in our hills?
But go meet your God, and see how well he approved your work for the country... go in peace, Jerry!