Ginny and I both have had close encounters with Lady Bird Johnson, the former First Lady who just died at the age of 94.
Mine was in the late 70′s or so when she appeared with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. She was narrating "A Lincoln Portrait," filling in for Charleton Heston who had canceled to do a movie role, I guess. I had requested a "one on one" interview with Mrs. Johnson. Amazingly, she agreed.
I rememer reading about her early years of marriage to Lyndon, whose ambition knew no bounds. Painfully shy, she had to force herself onto the campaign trail, nearly paralyzed by the fear of public speaking. Much more confident when I met her, still I remember her saying more than once during our interview of her up-coming symphony performance, "Don’t expect too much."
Ginny’s meeting with her is much more interesting. It was at the Bismarck airport in the early 60′s when Lyndon was just getting ready to run for president. Ginny was tagging along with her father, a journalist, on assignment to talk with Senate Majority Leader for the Bismarck Tribune. (Ginny has been cursed to live with reporters her entire life.)
Ginny remembers Lady Bird getting off an airplane in the shadow of her cowboy hat-waving husband and making a bee-line for her and a friend who were standing along a fence. While Lyndon was lapping up reporters’ attention, Lady Bird was spending her time talking with two little girls much too young to vote anytime soon. She said to them, "I have girls just your age." Clearly, she would rather have been with them back home in Texas.