One of the advantages of living near our nation’s capital is that it offers us the chance to experience events unique to this area. Examples include the cherry blossoms along the Tidal basin, the White House Egg Roll (if we could have scored tickets in this year’s lottery), and visiting all the buildings of the Smithsonian Institution.
We have had – and took – the opportunity to visit the White House grounds during its Spring Garden Tour back in April of 2001.
And my oldest son, not yet the age of 3, decided to see how far he could press his luck.
This is his story.
Right off the bat, no, we did not catch a glimpse of the President of the United States, George W. Bush, while we ambled our way around the White House.
Our spring tour of the White House took us around the south portion of the Executive Mansion where we strolled through the trees and blossoming flowers. Along the path, there were posters showcasing presidents of the past and how they interacted with the lawns and greenery during their tenures.
But this story is not about which former Chief Executive had which pet or which ex-President played golf, and this story is most certainly not a step-by-step recreation of which flora was in each section of the garden.
This is the story of my oldest child who saw something that entranced and enraptured his young mind. Among the colors of the tulips, the pale brightness of the White House, and the history all around him, my oldest locked on to one highly visible feature of the South Lawn and he wanted to experience it for himself.
He asked me – and quite nicely I will add to this credit – if he could play in the South Lawn fountain.
I said he could not. The reason I gave him for my lack of approval was that this body of water was a fountain and not a swimming pool. Now, I had hoped that this logic would have been enough for him, but it was not. He continued to ask – nicely – if he could splash around in the fountain. I kept saying no, but I realized that my parental authority was not enough.
Therefore, my son and I walked over to a guard who was stationed on the walkway and I told my child to ask him.
A tad nervously, my son politely asked the burly man with the firearm if he could swim in the fountain.
The security official simply looked at my boy and said, “No, son, it’s not allowed.”
Having received the official denial from an official-looking official, my son dropped the matter and we walked off to the next stop on our tour, the Children’s Garden.
As a parting note, I must applaud the security official for being able to look into my son’s adorable, cherubic face and deny this boy his wish. Could you honestly say no to this boy below…
And indeed this picture was taken on the path to the Children’s Garden.
That’s his story.
P.S. If you want a story about what it is like to meet W. at the White House, you will have to talk to my friend, Bill. He’ll tell you if that’s a tale for another day.