Former President George W. Bush gave Oklahomans a peek at what life is like after serving eight years in the White House.
Bush, who spoke to about 6,000 Saturday evening at a Woodward rodeo arena, recalled how he flew back home to Texas after Barack Obama’s inauguration in January.
He said he was on his couch at his Crawford, Texas, ranch the next morning “lying down there, and I said, ‘Free at last.’”
His wife, Laura, heard him, he said, and told him he was free to take out the garbage and free to mow the lawn.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute, Honey, you’re talking to the former president. She said …. ‘Consider that your new domestic policy agenda.’”
Laura Bush, who accompanied the nation’s 43rd president for his first trip to Oklahoma since leaving the White House, sat on stage and smiled as he recounted the story.
Bush, who turned 64 on Monday, recalled how Elliott’s Hardware in Dallas had published an open letter to former him, inviting him to apply for a store greeter position now that he had bought a home in Dallas.
Bush said he went to the store on an errand for the former first lady and a customer in the store, apparently not knowing he was talking to the former president, asked Bush if anyone told him he looks like George W. Bush.
Bush told the customer it happens to him all the time.
“The guy said, ‘Sure must make you mad,’” Bush said.
After moving to Dallas, Bush said he took his dog, Barney, a Scottish terrier, on a walk.
“It was the first time I had been on a walk in a neighborhood in 14 years,” said Bush, who served as Texas governor before being elected president in 2000. “It was the first time Barney had ever been on a walk in a neighborhood. The little fellow’s 8 years old so he spent all his life on the South Lawn of the White House, in Crawford or Camp David.
“And there we are, walking down the street and Barney spots this manicured lawn,” Bush said. “And there I was, free but with a plastic bag on my hand. I was picking up that which I had been dodging for eight solid years.”
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau