Getting just the right color is a whole lot easier than it used to be. Fire up the dyepot, sprinkle a little dye, simmer briefly, and you’re done. Doing this in green brings back memories…
We were doing the VIP tour of the White House with our children, pre-911; my aunt, the wife of a Senator and daughter-in-law, years earlier, of another, brought us in. I don’t know if the regular tours had this, but for the VIP tours, a formally-dressed guide gave a well-rehearsed history speech in each room. We walked through George Washington’s dream, taking it all in in awe.
There was a bit of lag time before moving to the next room each time; we had to wait for the group ahead of us to clear out. As we stood in one, I was admiring a very old rug with an Eagle motif (believe me, that E was capitalized. Definitely!) that was set aside from where our feet might touch it. I mentioned to my aunt that the green color in it had most likely come from boiling moss to extract the dye. She thought that was very cool.
Stepping outside a moment in the Rose Garden, I looked out at the lawn and, when the guide was done talking about Jack Kennedy and the like, mentioned to him that President Johnson had thrown a party for the children and grandchildren of Senators on the White House lawn: there was a small ferris wheel brought in, pony rides, and an official-looking white pen with red and blue ink printed with the words “The White House” given to each child. I had been eight years old at the time. (There was no way I was going near that ferris wheel, but I could have stayed on the ponies forever.)
Meantime, the guide, thrown off his routine, stopped, looked at me, and demanded in all seriousness, “Which President Johnson?”
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