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Anne Leonard

A Ronald Reagan Story

(No hate mail please.  Everyone has a bad day, but if you’re famous and someday wind up being president, someone somewhere will remember it. Besides, while Don’s dad swore it was Reagan, it could have been another famous cowboy living in the area with the initials RR and a petite wife, namely Roy Rogers.)

With Don’s father dying a week ago today and Margaret Thatcher’s state funeral today, a Ronald Reagan story came to mind. Since it is not in my book, I’ll share it here:

                When I first met my father-in-law, Reagan was president. One evening while we were watching the evening news, he said with a snort, “Reagan. I don’t trust that man. Any man who beats a horse is no good.”

                Of course I had to ask, “Reagan beats his horses? How on all earth do you know that?”

                “When we lived in California he would show his horses at the county fair. One year he didn’t win and left the arena in a huff, whipping his horse.”

                “So you saw Reagan back in his acting days?”

                “Yes, a number of times. That time, not only was he beating his horse but he yelled at Don and made him cry. What kind of man yells at a little kid?”

                “He yelled at Don? Why?”

                “Oh, Reagan was in a hurry to leave and Don got in his way.”

                Later when Don and I were alone, I said, “Lord, Don. How many people can say they’ve been yelled at by Reagan? Why didn’t you ever tell me that story?”

                “Because it wasn’t me,” Don said. “It was before I was born. It was my brother David.”

1 Comment

  1. Elias McClellan on April 20, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Great story for how our memory and filters “compile” (read: mangle) history. My memory of Reagan is my Dad, saying how Iran cut the hostages loose because they knew He wasn’t someone to mess around with. Or maybe he was talking about Shemp Howard. I always got those two mixed up. Shemp and Ronnie, not my Dad. Good stuff, Anne.

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