hazy
Saturday December 15th, 2018 6:26AM

Memories of Bush humor brought smiles to sorrowful farewell

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Memories of George H.W. Bush's underappreciated sense of humor drew laughter and brought smiles to the sorrowful mourning of the death of America's 41st president.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham recounted how comedian Dana Carvey once said that the key to doing his iconic impersonation of Bush was to mimic "Mr. Rogers trying to be John Wayne."

That prompted chuckles that rang from the vaulted arches inside the Washington National Cathedral.

Meacham said that while campaigning and asking for votes in New Hampshire, Bush mistakenly grabbed the hand of a department store mannequin. "When he realized his mistake, he said 'Never know. Gotta ask.'"

The former president, who died Friday at age 94, often found his tongue twisted and routinely uttered funny one-liners.

Looking ahead to the 1988 election, Bush once said: "It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or the other." And Meacham said that late in his presidency, Bush's tongue ran amok when he said: "We are enjoying sluggish times, but we're not enjoying them very much."

The former president's eldest son, former President George W. Bush, got in on the act, telling the packed cathedral that his father was no Fred Astaire on the dance floor and couldn't stomach vegetables, especially broccoli. While president, the elder Bush famously declared his dislike of broccoli.

George W. Bush said his father also shared jokes via email with his circle of friends. "His grading system for the quality of the joke was classic George Bush: The rare sevens and eights were considered huge winners, most of them off-color," the younger Bush said.

He said his dad really got the last laugh because he chose former Sen. Alan Simpson to be one of the people to speak at Wednesday's ceremony.

"He placed great value on a good joke. That's why he chose Simpson to speak," the younger Bush said.

Simpson said his friend never lost his sense of humor.

"He had a very serious flaw known by all close to him: He loved a good joke — the richer the better," Simpson said. "And he threw his head back and gave that great laugh, but he never, ever could remember a punchline. And I mean never."

"Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life," Simpson continued. "He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: Hatred corrodes the container it's carried in."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump on the fringes of presidents' group at Bush's service
There were some uneasy moments among past presidents and President Donald Trump as they assembled to mourn George H.W. Bush
2:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Memories of Bush humor brought smiles to sorrowful farewell
Memories of George H.W. Bush's underappreciated sense of humor drew laughter and brought smiles to the sorrowful mourning of the death of American's 41st president
2:49PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Hong Kong businessman guilty of bribery in African oil deal
Hong Kong businessman convicted of bribing leaders of Chad and Uganda to land oil rights for Chinese energy firm
2:49PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bush celebrated with praise and humor at cathedral farewell
George H.W. Bush's life and public are celebrated before the eyes of ex-presidents in Washington's final goodbye to the 41st president
1:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Hearse carrying Bush's casket leaves cathedral
The hearse carrying former President George H.W. Bush's casket has left Washington National Cathedral following his state funeral
1:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Supreme Court takes up closely watched double jeopardy case
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over whether it should overturn a court-created exception to the Constitution's double-jeopardy bar that allows state and federal prosecutions for the same crime
1:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump on the fringes of presidents' group at Bush's service
There were some uneasy moments among past presidents and President Donald Trump as they assembled to mourn George H.W. Bush
2:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Hong Kong businessman guilty of bribery in African oil deal
Hong Kong businessman convicted of bribing leaders of Chad and Uganda to land oil rights for Chinese energy firm
2:49PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Bush saluted with praise, humor, cannons at capital farewell
George H.W. Bush's life and public service are celebrated before the eyes of ex-presidents in Washington's final goodbye to the 41st president
2:39PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Christmas turkey, fruitcake rocketing toward space station
Christmas turkey rockets toward the International Space Station, along with cranberry sauce and fruitcake
2:33PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Report: Moonves obstructed sexual misconduct investigation
An internal investigation of former CBS chief Les Moonves has turned up more evidence of sexual misconduct as well as lying and destruction of evidence, throwing into jeopardy his $120 million severance package
2:32PM ( 40 minutes ago )