We here at Hammock are as patriotic as the next folks, and like most small businesses, we demonstrate our patriotism on Presidents Day by contributing to the GDP.
We did take a little time from our work day to commemorate our nation’s chief executive office (Just a warning…you’ll want headphones for that link if you’re at work today, too.).
Many folks have read about our boss Rex’s recent brushes with presidential greatness, meeting President Bush twice in the last year. Not content with those stories, he had to one-up himself with this tale:
I’ve met, or at least been in the same room with, every president since Nixon.

  • I saw Nixon (he was an ex-president then) in a restaurant in New York.
  • I was a volunteer at a Nashville golf tournament Gerald Ford played in (he was famous for beaning fans with wayward shots).
  • I shook hands with two presidents as they worked their way down rope lines: Carter (at Ft. Benning, Ga.,
  • And Bush (41), at the Opryland Hotel a few days before he lost in 1992.)
  • I was working in D.C. during Reagan’s first term and attended several functions where he spoke, including a big event at Constitution Hall (owned by our client, the DAR) celebrating the anniversary of the Country Music Association. For some reason, I had tickets a few rows away from the president and first lady, so it was hard not to watch them instead of whoever was on stage.
  • And finally, I saw Clinton in a motorcade once and was sitting in the back of the room when he addressed an NFIB gathering, a speech later chronicled by David Broder.

Lena Basha’s presidential reminiscence:
My only brush with presidential greatness took place last summer, as fellow Hammorati Shannon, Jamie, Summer and I were in Washington covering NFIB’s Small-Business Summit. Since the event was PACKED, we barely made it in, finding seats only on the press platform (technically where we belonged, as we were covering President Bush’s speech).
The other reporters on the stand didn’t look as excited as I felt  the president was their regular beat, after all. As for me, I’m sure I resembled a crazy person, smiling giddily as I frantically tried to write down every word he said. Even though I wasn’t his target audience (he was speaking to the small-business owners in the room, not me), it was exciting  I was in the same room as the president! And of course, I still have my ID badge with the Secret Service seal of approval on it.
As for brushes with first lady greatness, Sarah Childress Polk (the wife of 11th president of the United States James K. Polk) and I are alumnae of the same high school (Find out more in the May/June issue of AmericanSpirit!)
Former ace reporter Bill Hudgins chips in with a classic:
In 1980 when George H.W. Bush was vying for the GOP nomination against Ronald Reagan, he made a stop in Chattanooga, not far from where I was working as a rookie reporter. At the time, Reagan was strongly ahead and looked certain to be nominated. I begged the publisher to let me cover it. Bush met the press in an airplane hangar, and to my brash, green ears, they tossed softballs at him. As the Q&A was about to wrap, I asked him if he’d accept the VP slot. He looked me in the eye and with absolute conviction said he would not. I even read his lips. So I had my lead, and soon thereafter, we had a VP candidate named George Herbert Walker Bush.
Some presidential trivia for you on this Presidents Day:
Thomas Jefferson was the nation’s first known speleologist.
What happened to Washington’s Birthday? Presidents Day used to be two holidays.
Appropriate to consider during spring training, Benjamin Harrison was the first prez to attend a Major League baseball game.