I received a hard copy of this photo from the White House about two weeks ago; we scanned it for posting here. Perhaps you're thinking photos with George and Laura Bush now seem soooo last administration. But it was a fun and fascinating evening; it's such a thrill to be turned loose to explore the ground and state floors of the White House, to see the official portraits of our former presidents and first ladies, to wonder who might have sipped from George Washington's dishes on display in the "china room", to ascend the stairs that Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan climbed.
President and Mrs. Bush could not have been more engaging and hospitable. I told them quite honestly that I felt bad for them on this festive evening; as the party goes on around them, they diligently stand for hours to have their photo snapped roughly eight-hundred times with the sixteen-hundred or so invited guests. As the most powerful man on the planet, and his wife, endure the photo line, most of the partygoers are a floor above, snarfing down enormous shrimp cocktail (the food was lavish and delicious!) or quaffing a bit of the White House scotch.
Both President Bush and Mrs. Bush were quick to dismiss my concerns; "Happy to do it!" the President said with a sincere twinkle in his eye. Mrs. Bush was equally gracious and made it plain she enjoyed being the hostess even of a party she was not able to enjoy.
My 'date' for the evening is Becky, one of my three sisters! When I told her about the 2007 party (to which I did bring my wife), Becky mentioned that she'd always wanted to see the White House at Christmastime. She'd even thought of trying to volunteer for the decorating committee just to get a peek inside. When I received the 2008 invitation, I thought she'd enjoy the chance to visit--without having to hang baubles on the White House Christmas tree.