Monday was Presidents Day, so let’s talk about the last United States President to visit our fair county.
Well, OK, I think maybe I need to have full disclosure here, Jimmy Carter was just the governor of Georgia at the time. But he later became a United States president.
Way back in the fall of 1970, C. J. Mowell and I felt the need for our county to celebrate its 150th birthday the next year. Thinking big, we decided that since Jimmy Carter had just been elected governor, we should go ahead to book him for the next June festivities here.
Along with others, we put together an eight day event. Actually, it was three or four days too many, but what did we know?
Along with plans shaping up during the spring of 1971, we were contacted by a large public relations company who would do all the planning, even providing costumes for a measly $10,000. The committee had already decided if any money were to be made, it would be made by Fayette Countians. Period.
We had designed a tour around the county and various homemaker clubs were going to be selling various goodies along the route. Good.
Now, who would be selling what and where, we did not know nor care. Trust me, we had our hands full between establishing a stage on the Courthouse lawn, a military fly over, getting permission to show “Gone With The Wind” at the Sams Auditorium, and a dozen other plans.
The opening day arrives, the future United States president shows up, along with his three year old daughter, Amy. At the time, I also had a three year old daughter who would be passing by in the opening day parade. Amy Carter was accompanied by a state patrolman.
We committee participants were dressed in appropriate 19th century costumes and the state patrolman at one time pulled at my long skirt and said, “Ma’am, Amy wants another balloon.” I had no idea who had the baloons or where the balloons were at, nor, at that moment did I care, so I replied “Tell Amy the balloons are all gone.”
The Opening Day festivities finally began, the governor, our city mayors, several committee members and various potentates were standing on the stage to watch the parade go by.
I was holding Amy at the time (I have a picture of this I wouldn’t take a million dollars for) and the parade goes by. When my three year old daughter looked up and saw me holding a three year old, ladies and gentlemen, if looks could kill, Amy never would have made it to living in the White House.
My daughter works for Delta in Denver and one day last year, Amy happened to come to her window at the airport. A lot of history swept through my daughter’s head, but she only had time to smile and take care of her customer – the daughter of a former United States President who one time had visited our fair county.