It’s the weekend, so as usual I reserve the right to write about anything I want. Today, I want to call attention to a letter I got from Bob Mangino in response to my review of The Big Scrum by John J. Miller. Again, if you missed that podcast, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Bob writes:
Last year I read a book about him (50 cents at a flea market) called Teddy Roosevelt and the River of Doubt–apparently a year after losing an election and a failed assassination attempt while campaigning (a book in his breast pocket stopped a bullet, mostly–he bled throughout his speech, then went to the hospital), he felt the need for a next big challenge, and bit off more than he could chew with a dugout canoe expedition down 1,000 miles of an uncharted Amazon tributary. Damn near killed him, and DID kill a bunch of guys on the trip. He was surely one of a kind.
Best anecdote was about his unflinching pursuit of the vigorous life while in the White House, conducting business. His whole life he used to go on “rambles,” long random walks everywhere and anywhere, and when he came to obstacles, he could not avoid them. A river or lake–he swam it. A tree or mountain–he climbed it. He forced his kids to do the same (mixed results, there….).
Late one night, maybe midnight, he and the ambassador from France decided to go for a walk while discussing events of the day. They came to the Potomac. Teddy, as was his usual course, stripped bare and swam it. The President. Of. The. United. States. The French Ambassador, much to his credit, did the same. (I don’t recall if the Secret Service ferried their clothes across, but it would be a reasonable assumption). They crossed, and then continued onward.
These days they’d both be jailed, of course. And YouTubed.
And that’s just one of the many reasons I love Teddy Roosevelt.