In my last blog entry, I told you all about my time working in the kitchen at the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Coast Guard base. I wanted to expound more in-depth upon a different era of my life…
The year was 1994, and I was living in a town called Valley Cottage, New York…
I found it odd that Democratic Governor of Kentucky Brereton Jones had asked me to have a private phone conversation with him… What’s even odder (or, I should say, seemed odder at that point, although time has explained things somewhat) is that he met me in person, only to ask me to have a phone conversation with him…
..Let me back up…
I was at a convenience store, purchasing one Butterfinger candy bar and stealing another… when this gentleman wearing plain clothes and driving a plain car came pulling in the parking lot of the convenience store. He seemed to be stressfully concerned with trying to uphold the appearance of ordinary citizenry, but I realized he was a governor immediately simply by how fast he was driving..
He approached me rather hastily, much to my confusion, and handed me a piece of paper. He said, “excuse me sir, help me out, will ya?” and then he got back in his car and sped off.
So I read the piece of paper, and it said (something along the lines of) “Dear Ordinary Citizen… I am former Republican house minority leader Brereton Jones, and as you know I am now the democratic governor of Kentucky…” The letter went on to mention other biographical items of, at best, modest interest… I.E. his interest in horse-breeding, and his concerns regarding the preservation of horse-farms. It read like an especially boring resume cover-letter, and I have to be completely honest by saying that it seemed to mention horses rather excessively. Even in the abstract… for example he seemed to go out of his way to mention that in 1987 he ran as a dark horse candidate for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. When I saw later on in the letter the request for me to contact him by phone, caveatted by a list of times during which he would be unavailable because he’d be in the stables or out riding, I gave to a furl of my brow which would have been an eye-roll had not the whole situation unbelievably managed to somehow maintain equal parts shady-suspicion with predictability and childishness.
I called during one of the times Jones had wrote as being available, and low and behold, his secretary said he was out administering some emergency first aide to once of his horses which had gotten its leg caught in a wire fence. Fair enough.. That happens..
I called again later on, and his secretary apologized that Jones was still out tending to his injured stallion. Apparently, this particular horse was his favorite, having not just won him a good deal of race-money (both gambling on it, and then, after purchasing it, racing it) but this horse was also his prize stud at Airdrie, having kept all 2500 acres afloat during slow breeding-seasons…
No big deal, I’ll just call back tomorrow, is what I thought.
Only, I didn’t call back the next day, because, at this time, I still didn’t really care at all about this and I completely forgot for almost two weeks.
Two weeks later I consulted my letter for the right time during which Jones wouldn’t be busy horsing around, and I dialed him up. His secretary answered the phone, and I asked to speak with him. She told me he couldn’t come to the phone right now because he was out at the stable adding mineralized salt granules to his horses’ feed. I was slightly confused as to how this could be, seeing as this was not one of the times he wrote as being unavailable for taking care of horses. In fact, to make it even further confusing, there were only a very few brief windows of time during which the governor--according to his letter--would NOT be busy tending to horses.
I tried back the next day during one of the other times Governor Jones wrote as being available to speak. This time the secretary said, “please hold a moment”. At that moment, I’m embarrassed to say it, but my pulse started racing a little bit and I started to realize exactly how curious I really was about this whole situation. I had finally gotten through to what must have been the busiest hobbyist of a governor who had shadily implored my help on the streets of a town in a completely different state than his.
And right when I heard the hand on the phone on the other end causing that rattling sound that we hear right when someone’s about to get on the phone, I knew EXACTLY what I was about to hear.
“I’m sorry sir, the Governor’s out rotating the seasonal anti-parasite equine pastes in preparation for de-worming..”
I thought of something that might work… Given the shadiness of the situation, maybe his plan was designed this way. Maybe whatever he has to say is so important and clandestine that he needed to play mind games with me.
Many hours later that day, I waited till the letter said he would be busy taking care of horses, and I gave him a wring. I asked his secretary to speak to Jones, and she informed me, “I’m sorry sir, he’s out training his colts for barrel-racing”.
I didn’t get in touch with the governor for 6 years.
Email was starting to get big in the year 2000, and he managed to track me down. I received the following email ver-batin’.:
Why did you never contact me? How am I supposed to be the best governor I can be if I am unable to get advice from every-day citizens? It’s amazing I was even able to track you down (the office of the Governor is afforded many-a-resource for such needs ;-). Now not too much harm has been done, because I originally chose you for council based on the fact that you were a random person I ran into. I have since found others to help out where you let me down. In case you’re wondering why I seem to be so strange, it’s because when I was first being born, my parents didn’t know whether I was going to be a boy or a girl. Ultrasound technology was nowhere near what it is today, and I inherited a rare recessive trait that causes my penis not to reflect sonic waves of any kind (honestly, it doesn’t do much for the ladies that my Johnson is surfaced like the hull of those blackbird stealth planes).
The state of Kentucky is doing fairing well. Honestly, we’ve been better, but we’ve also done worse in the past. That leads me to believe that things are okay. Anyway, I wanted you to know that I am fine, and I think my secretary is rather fond of you.
I started to realize that Governor Jones must be suffering from some manner of mental illness, because I (and any other former Obstetrician worth his salt) can tell you that ultrasound technology didn’t come around for use in pre-natal care until the 1960s. By that time, our friend Brereton was already trotting for mayor of Louisville, and doing rather well in the gallop poles!
I wonder why he didn’t say a thing about horses in the email?