A chance meeting sparked the memory of a lifetime.
On a sunny day in May, 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson visited former President Eisenhower, Senator Dirksen, and wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
I was at the hospital clinic getting my weekly allergy shot, just shy of my 15th birthday. Dad worked at Walter Reed (in a building that had been converted from stables) so the area was as familiar as home.
Mom heard that LBJ was going to depart by car rather than helicopter so we went to see. Johnson’s black limousine was parked on the street, flags by the antenna, secret servicemen all around.
I dared my little brother to touch the car. He stretched out to tap it and the secret service sprang to life. When they found it was only a little kid leaving fingerprints on the Lincoln, they relaxed.
Then President Johnson came out and the secret service stiffened again. LBJ wanted to greet the public and, I guess, since it was a small crowd, one on a military post, the advisors acquiesced.
Johnson’s idea of pressing the flesh was to drag his fingers over everybody’s outstretched hands.
When he touched my hand, there was a spark. That spark lives as a memory; a flashback of Johnson’s smiling face, the shiny car, the bright spring sun, and a boy about to become a man.
Top Photo: GettyImages
Bottom Photo: GettyImages