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TideWriters Tales


Celebrating the Past, Present & Future

A Chance Meeting with President Harry S. Truman
By William O. “Bud” Disney Senior

   On a beautiful early fall day, a blue sky, almost warm because of the bright sun, even though the leaves of the Nation’s Capitol had begun to change ever so slightly, I had a chance meeting.

    Fall was in the air and it was football season. The year was 1952, though the fighting continued in Korea so far away, life went on in our country. President Harry S. Truman was truly a man of the people. He was one of us. He was known for his morning constitutions, walking the area of the White House, especially the Ellipse, the Mall. Which extends from the Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument and Museums and to the Capital Building.

    I was an assistant coach of a Boy’s Club of Washington, Georgetown Branch peewee football team. The game was being played at the Washington monument Grounds, south and across Constitution Avenue from the ellipse. The Boy’s Clubs used several field sites across the D.C. area park systems.

    Sitting on the west side of the field, with the Washington Monument on our right rising up on a hill, the flags waving in the breeze, the Capital in the distance, the contest on the field was the only event to us in the world.

   I was, along with the team, sitting on a wooden bench—two of these pushed together gave us about a 12-foot bench. At one end sat a metal bucket with water and a metal dipper for our team to use to drink or just rinse our mouths out.

    The coach was pacing up and down yelling at the players, encouraging or being critical, depending on how the game was going. A team water dispenser used by all—my how things have changed.

    Without noticing, our eyes on the field and listening to all the chatter on the bench, yelling, the referee’s whistle blew as the game progressed.

    Without ado, there appeared to the right, a man dressed in a suit, white shirt, and tie. A dress hat on his has head, different, his hat brim was not turned down and stayed consistent around his head. His glasses were plain and his face ruddy and wore a generous grin. There was no question the man was the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

    Behind him were two men also dressed, suits, shirts, ties, hats and sunglasses. While all the time their heads were turning with watchful vigilance, taking in all that was happening. Without remembering what was exactly said because of this moment of excitement and a little apprehensive of his presence, it probably went like this once he was recognized
    The President said, “Good morning boys. What’s the score?” Do not recall the answer, but am sure we all said “Good Morning Mr. President.”

    Except one wise guy—and there is always one—near me, with his head down and rather quietly said, “What do you say Harry”, or something like that. It was not heard, we may have all stood up or just sat. It was a great moment we were left in total shock.

   We were awed and it was not until later that it registered what had happened.

    The trio stayed for a few moments and watched the progress of the game. Before leaving he said, “Have a nice day and good luck,” and left as quietly as he arrived. It would be later before I realized and that we or myself had actually addressed the President of the United States.

    One of life’s gratifying moments, when you think of life, how many people ever get to speak to the president of this country? Not many, especially on that level.

    As I remember, maybe not exactly, but never the less true.

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