In the late summer of 1981 my young wife and I went to pick the invasive non-native Himalayan Blackberry on the banks of a slough across from the air base in NE Portland. We arrived with a couple of pails, anticipating the days of vanilla ice cream and these sweet morsels to follow.


George H.W. Bush was slated to arrive in Portland soon and then be whisked downtown on Interstate 84. We could have stayed home and watched the limousines roll by, flags flapping, police motorcycles surrounding it. I’ve seen Bill Clinton that way several times. Once I managed to walk down the berm very close to the freeway, with my 35 mm SLR camera and long lens for a photo.

A Portland Police officer approached me and told me I was too close and said “You need to move back and go up there on the top of the berm. You can get a better shot from there anyway.” Foolishly I asked “Did you just tell me I can get a better shot from the grassy knoll?”

I nearly was arrested that day.


We were arrested the day 41 came through town.


Mid-pail, enjoying the sunshine and picking berries with my wife we were suddenly surround by half a dozen military men with rifles and were told that we must come with them. It was quite startling and we asked what was happening. We were told that our questions would not be answered and that we must come with them now or face being forced to do as told. They walked us to the military grounds and surrounded us. They were stone faced and unwilling to answer any questions.

“What are you doing here?” they demanded.

“What the hell?” I thought but didn’t say. “We’re picking berries. Blackberries. Why are you asking? You saw what we were doing.”

“Why here?” their spokesman insisted on knowing.

“Well, why not?” I began to feel irritated.

“Answer the question.” I was ordered to do.

This seemed like Willie Sutton’s reason for robbing banks.

“Because this is where they are.” I informed him and his stern posse.


Five minutes of silence followed without any hint of what was to be next. I assumed this was the first day of a life to be lived out in some gulag in the Rockies, never to be heard from again, never knowing why, a Kafkaesque future of nothingness, dry bread and water.


Then without warning, the leader said “You can go now.”


I implored him for a reason for our temporary arrest. He hesitated and then told us, “You were on the proposed alternate route for Vice-President Bush if he needed it.”








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Comment by Dicky Neely on December 6, 2018 at 10:41am

I was in a press gaggle at an event at the U.S.S. Lexington museum here in Corpus Christi where H.W. appeared as a favor to an old classmate from naval flight school. I knew that person, a Mr. Joe O'Brien, now deceased. I attempted to get in a question but H.W. was showing some "slippage" and was preoccupied with an attractive young blonde reporter from a local TV station.

I met G.W. twice while working for the same paper. It's a long story but G.W. was shown up at this event by his Democratic rival for the governorship at the time, Gary Mauro. G.W. wasn't too friendly then.

Another time, working for the same paper and covering another campaign event G.W. entered and walked right up to me and stuck out his hand and was very friendly. 

I also corresponded with G.W. when he was the "President" of the Texas Rangers. I wrote a letter asking why there were no local radio broadcast of their games. He replied with a very nice and thoughtful letter in a barely legible scrawl.At the time it was widely thought he was the "owner" of the Rangers. That was not exactly true. He was part of a large investment group and his share of ownership was a very small fraction. I forget exactly how much, perhaps a 1/64th or something like that. He was put forward to the public as a figurehead of sorts. It's too bad he didn't stick with baseball!

Comment by older/exasperated on December 6, 2018 at 10:57am

Back in the summer of 1981 I had arrived back from the Middle East working with the Dept of Defense, I had arrived at Andrews AFB and was directed the !st Presidential Squadron hangar. My good friend from Vietnam was stationed there still in the Air Force. We walked up to the hanger the second day and the big hanger doors were open where Marine One and other Congressional helicopters were parked. Entrance for authorized persons was a door next to the big door and there was red striping from the outside into the hanger where you walked. You weren't suppose to step across the red line UNLESS you had a BADGE on, so said the really big signs everywhere.

That morning walking with my friend who was in uniform and I saw the hanger door open and walked through it into the hanger. Trust me when I say I'm trained special forces and I have never seen anything like these guys. In less than 3 seconds I was on the floor with many high powered rifles and guns pointed at me. I only saw two security police there minutes before. None the less I was told that I shouldn't never do that again and left the next morning. One of the head security guys told me next time I return from the middle east I should maybe shave and cut my hair.

Great story strange times I must say have a good day..........................o/e

Comment by alsoknownas on December 6, 2018 at 11:33am

Dicky Neely,

Myth and hyperbole seems to be the commonality in the lives of those who become POTUS.

Thanks for stopping in.

Comment by alsoknownas on December 6, 2018 at 11:33am


Thanks. Operator error.

Comment by alsoknownas on December 6, 2018 at 11:35am



That's a good story as well. 


Comment by moki ikom on December 6, 2018 at 11:32pm

There's an interesting book by Glenn Day listed on Amazon called 

Minor Presidential Candidates and Parties of 1988: A Referenceby Glenn Day $899.99(1 used offer)

then there is Minor Presidential Candidates and Parties of 1992: A Reference , by Glenn Day $4.82 (1used offer)
i wonder what if anythying makes the 1988 reference apparently so much more collectible.


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