“Life is always short but is not always a short story. So make every moment count, young man.”
Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush’s words rang true then, as they ring true now, when I met her as a Young Republican volunteer helping her husband get re-elected. We didn’t quite make it, to put it mildly. Her husband’s loss was hers too, of course. She, like her husband, was an exceptionally graceful loser. She hugged me and thanked me, as she did to each and every college volunteer on the Republican side.
Her husband joined us later and asked us how we Republicans were doing, putting on a heavy Texas drawl for the effect. He turned to me of all kids gathering around the First Couple. Paying my due respect to his former tenure as the U.S. Envoy to China**, and equally for the effect, I put it in Mandarin, Beijing-accented, while pointing to my own face,
When self-translated into English, the First Couple’s roaring laughter rivaled a good-sized Texas tornado, which must be quite uplifting.
During the inevitable lull that followed a figure-of-speech tornado, I heard Lady Barbara say,
“So we can afford to lose everything, including re-election, but the face.”
Perhaps, she had equated the face with the soul. This was an awesomely insightful First Lady.
**He stepped down as head of the Republican National Committee after Gerald Ford became President. The new President appointed him as the U.S. Envoy to the People's Republic of China. Because the United States did not yet have full diplomatic relations with China, he served as chief of the U.S. Liaison's Office instead of as ambassador.