Saturday, December 16, 2006

Jeb... the good neighbor?

Folks: I need your help.

I need stories! Let me explain:

Since I was a young pup studying AP American history in high school, there's been one seeming constant in my life:


For, you see, ever since that fall of '94, John Ellis Bush has either been running for something - or actually has been running something - in our sunny state. And, like him or hate him, he's been such a fixture for such an eon that it's funny to realize pretty soon he'll be gone, back to private citizenship down in Miami, someplace nice like Fisher Island.

But even funnier is the realization that, for the last couple of months, the Jebster and I have actually been, like, neighbors. We mortal civilians don't usually see heads of state as groovy people like ourselves - especially when they've got two presidents in the immediate family - but I got all the reminder I needed the first time I went jogging around my midtown house off Adams Street.

Yep, that would be the time I was heading toward Monroe and wondered, "Hey, what's that country-club looking joint with all the limos?" It didn't have a sign, but then, it didn't have a closed gate, either. What it did have, I discovered, was some way of notifying a bunch of suited, sunglassy dudes with earpieces that they should come out and say howdy to the dumb jogger.
Thus did I learn that the Bushes were my neighbors.

Since then, I've done a lot of wondering: What does that family do for fun in this town? Does the Gov. ever unwind, like my pops (and like the Gov.'s brother), by doing unnecessary yardwork? Do the Bushes host a book discussion club? How about a Super Bowl party? Do they eat sushi? A reliable source informed me of a Jeb sighting not too long ago at 50-cent night at Movies 8, but that's about all the straight dope I've ever gotten.

That's where y'all come in.

I'm looking for your stories. Close encounters of the Jeb kind, that's what I want. Did he compliment your puppy at Lake Ella? Did he get the green olives on a slice at Decent Pizza? Does he eat Indian at Samrat? Did you lap him on your daily joggin circuit? We've spent so many years focusing on the governor as Mr. Big Statewide Deciding Man, that I'd really like to hear what kind of a Tallahassee creature we had in that big ol' house for so many years.

Ground rules: keep it clean, keep it polite, and keep it honest. If you want your anecdotes to be publishable, you've gotta give me some kind of contact info for follow-up. (Don't worry, I won't pass it on to the NSA or anything.)

So how about it? Send those stories. Either post a comment or drop me a line at

And don't forget your Pop Candy!


Charless said...

Been a while, but I've twice seen Jeb at the Publix that was on the Parkway, Columba pushing the cart and shopping, one security man. Both times were Sunday shortly after noon, perhaps just coming from Mass?
Leroy Collins, long after he went out of office when I saw this, would jog in Oakland Cemetery quite regularly around 6 a.m.

Lawton Chiles voted at Lincoln Neighborhood Center. He would stop and hug every woman on the way in, and on the way out. An asute politician's hug, not a dirty old man's.

Martinez would jog along N Monroe, west side, in the vicinity of the Mansion, 5-6 a.m., regularly, one car slowly accompanying him. Twice in the early evening walking past the front of the Mansion his dog was on the front lawn and came over to me when I called him to the fence. Marquette is the name I recall being on the tag.

And I've seen Bob Graham jogging, I think at the Leon High track, but it might have been elsewhere, it's been a while. And at least one year Graham during Springtime Tallahassee sang on one of the sound stages, from the Fantasticks.
In a saner time not that long ago, Graham starting having an open house tour at the Governor's Mansion shortly before Christmas every year, with very nice fixin's outside in a tent on the north side. It was a nice, civilized fete, a good time had by all.

Martinez continued that only his first year; two cookies in a brown paper bag and watered punch, as I recall.
Each Christmas there are 68 wreaths put on the Governor's Mansion's fence; 67 have county names on them, the other has Buena Vista on it. Guess who supplied the wreaths!
But, you know, it's like when we were kids and one day were so surprised to see our school teacher in the grocery store--till then we never thought of them outside the classroom. So it is with our Governors.

Miss Trashahassee said...

I ain't never seen Jeb drivin' his four-wheeler thru the trailer park, but once I was standin' behind him when he was signin' some fancy paper in the courtyard over to the Capitol. He had a buncha Sharpie pens on the table in front of him, and he actshully gave one of them Sharpies to me an' I ain't had to pay him nothin' for it.

Loved ol' Bob Graham - once I gotted to help hand awards to him to give out to peeps at an award luncheon during a school volunteer conference down yonder in West Palm Beach.

Dat's about it. No scary storys; just the honest troof.

Miss Trailer Trash

Mary Leslie said...

...'cause you're my favorite blogger (besides Bob):

At the Governor's Mansion, Joshua Butler keeps the cuisine coming
"Joshua Butler is relaxing in his kitchen wearing a faded black T-shirt and blue jeans, but to get to him, one must have security clearance."
(Sept. 20, 2006, D1)