Z and I went and drove up the mountain, purchased a state park day pass and started our adventure.
I always loved the flagstone surrounding the pool - and if you look closely, you can see that the bottom of the pool has the same treatment. When the pool is clean and open, it's absolutely gorgeous. As we stood next to the fence, I told my boy about the diving contest between my two brothers, John and Jerry. It so perfectly reflected their personalities that I still think of it to this day. John is a very precise person. He knows the correct way to do things to get the outcome he wants. Jerry, on the other hand, is a bit more, uh, freeform. So the contest: three dives each and the one with the least splash wins. John went first and his dive was a thing of beauty. His body was all straight planes and angles - but there was quite a bit of splash on entry. Jerry just walked to the end of the diving board and jumped off. His arms flailed and his legs waved. No judge on earth would have said it was a good dive. But when he entered the water, there was barely a ripple. John was incensed. This was NOT the way things were supposed to work! Two more dives each with the same results. It was a pretty bizarre thing, but Jerry won. John spent much of the remainder of the summer jumping into swimming pools and trying not to make a splash. I'm not sure he ever succeeded to the degree of Jerry's free-form leaps, which doesn't seem fair, really.
Our next stop was Dowdle's Knob. We drove up the ridge road and took the turnoff and drove for another mile and a half up. This was Franklin D. Roosevelt's favorite picnic spot. He had a barbecue built up there and they carried tables, linens, silver and china up the mountain to picnic up there. He often came up to spend time reflecting about his life and the state of the country, and used a seat from his car to sit on.
One of the very cool parts of visiting this particular site is that the kids can participate in a scavenger hunt. Z got a clipboard and a list of things to find, read, or count as we went through the museum, grounds and Little White House. It helped pull ZBoy into the history and learn a few things about this remarkable man.
I learned a lot too. Of course, the way the education system is set up here, students kind of skim over the facts of presidential lives, learning a tidbit here or there but not really knowing anything about the man behind the office. I have a great deal of respect for Franklin D. Roosevelt - a four term president who remade this country into one of the greatest countries in the world. What would he think of what's going on in the world today? Obama is facing many of the same challenges that FDR did, but not handling them nearly as well. What would FDR do differently - and would he be able to make the same kind of changes now that he did then? Congress has a different head these days. It's more about power and contradiction now than about what's best for the country and the people who live here. It makes me sad, but I don't know that anyone can make it better at this point.
I'm glad we went. I wanted Z to know that things change. What was going on then didn't last forever - and what's going on now won't either. The method of change may be different - but things never stay the same.