I have spent a lot of time this week watching and listening to the tributes and the funeral of our wonderful President George Herbert Walker Bush. Like many Americans I’m sure, I laughed and I cried as his son George W. Bush spoke at the funeral.
And I also remembered all the wonderful times that President George H.W. Bush was in Ohio.
I remember one of my favorite times — when the then-vice president flew into Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and our family had the opportunity to greet him as he stepped off the plane. I was holding our baby Mark. Our son Brian, who was about 8, was wearing a navy blazer. As the vice president shook his hand, he also adjusted Brian’s pocket flap that was tucked in! Always the father!
I remember when Vice President Bush was running for president in 1988 and he came to Xenia to campaign. Mike introduced him, and during the parade, the two of them stood on a platform that extended from his car. A man approached the car and handed the vice president a small horseshoe he had made. After he left, the vice president asked Mike the man’s name, pulled out a note card, wrote him a note of thanks and handed it to Mike to give to him later. Even when running for president, in a moving car, he took the time to write a thank you note!
I remember after the convention in New Orleans when his very first stop was in Ohio — a parade in West Carrollton. We got everyone on the DeWine team, including my mother, to walk in the parade to honor and support him.
I remember when our family attended his inauguration in 1989. I especially remember the Young American Rhythm and Blues Concert that we all attended. The president and Lee Atwater joined in for a wonderful evening. Our family also loved the Thousand Points of Light Concert at the Lincoln Memorial, where everyone was given a tiny flashlight to shine their thousand points of light into the darkness.
I remember when we were with him many times in 1992 for his re-election campaign. Mike was also running for the U.S. Senate. Ohio was such an important state and in that very last weekend of the election, after he spoke at Fraize Pavillion in Kettering, he asked Mike and I (and our baby daughter Anna) to join him in the limo for the trip to the airport.
I remember after our daughter Becky was killed in a car accident in 1993, President Bush was one of the first people to call us. He gave us the love and comfort of another parent who had lost a beloved daughter.
I remember in 2006 when Mike was running for re-election to the Senate. President Bush and Barbara Bush very graciously did a fundraiser for us in Cleveland. Barbara took lots of pictures, and the president reached in his pocket and pulled out his personal checkbook to write us a contribution check for our campaign.
But what we always think about with the Bushes is family and family time. So I picked some of the recipes in the Congressional Club Cookbook that were submitted by President Bush. I can see his family sitting around the kitchen table with the meat and tortilla chips and all the fixings. I even made it for Mike last night and we enjoyed it. That recipe was taken from the 1982 edition, and the Lemon Chicken recipe appeared in the 1987 edition. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks like something I’d like to serve at the Governor’s Residence!
(Bush Family Favorite Taco Meal)
2 lbs. ground hamburger meat
Lawry’s taco seasonings mix
1 pkg. Doritos
1 cup grated yellow cheese
1 or 2 small chopped onions, not minced
10 chopped ripe black olives
1 chopped tomato
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 can frozen avocado dip (or fresh guacamole)
Easy to make, loved by all who love Mexican food. Ingredients easy to keep in house. Children or guests can all help with chopping or grating. It’s fun!! Follow instructions on taco seasonings mix for browning meat. I serve this meal in my kitchen, a big pot of meat simmering on the stove. A wooden salad bowl of Doritos and 7 bowls of the remaining ingredients around the table. Start with a mound of Doritos, a spoon of piping hot meat, cheese, etc. Makes 8 servings.
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 lemon, halved
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vermouth
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
grated rind of 1 lemon
Rub chicken breasts with lemon, salt, pepper and a little flour. Saute in butter 7 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and arrange in baking dish. Add vermouth, cream, lemon juice and grated lemon to saute pan. Heat thoroughly, scraping the pan to deglaze it. Strain sauce and pour over chicken breasts. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top and brown lightly under broiler a few minutes. Makes 6 servings.
Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, guest columnist and wife of Ohio Attorney General and Governor-Elect Mike DeWine.