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cheshyre grin

cheshyre grin
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The One True
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An ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own.
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Quit your snooping, bitch.

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Photo Essays
NOVEMBER 30, 2012 12:04AM

LBJ Ranch: Serenity In The Hill Country (Photo essay)

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LBJ34

First off, no matter how eloquent I am or how riveting the pictures I may take, nothing can give you the feeling of LBJ ranch without an actual visit. I'd been there once before in the 90's and never forgot that feeling, a sort of a high like you get going to the mountains. It's like a long, cool drink of water for the soul. And I say that as a person who mostly despises LBJ. So when I had the chance to return during my Formula 1 Fantasy Trip, I made a special effort to quench a longstanding thirst.

LBJ1 A 6,300 foot runway was completed that allowed this smaller but speedy jet to land directly on ranch property. At any point in time LBJ was just a few short hours from here or Washington.

It came to be known as the "Texas White House" and Johnson spent a great deal of time there, not only to relax but to conduct business. He liked the feeling of having a "home court" advantage when twisting congressional arms. But I also think considering the incredible pressure he felt in Washington, the escalation of the war he both inflicted and was conflicted by drove him to this wonderful paradise in the hill country of central Texas about 50 miles west of Austin.

LBJ38 The "Texas White House"

When I came through before, Lady Bird was still living here and the tour took you only on a trip around the property. With her passing the house is now the tour (rest of the property is self guided). Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the house but it was like stepping into a time machine. It's an absolute historical treasure. Desks, furnishings, paintings, books, typewriters - the whole nine yards is still there as if Johnson were ready to walk right out of it as President. It's truly a miracle of preservation.

LBJ24 Western side addition where Johnson housed his office. Inside was his desk on one side and two secretarial desks opposing him. High on the wall was buried a TV with the remote still lying on the desk. It was a special model from Zenith that was not released to the public until a year later.

LBJ25 Underneath this 450 year old tree was a favorite spot for LBJ to conduct his meetings. It's become famous for the various world leaders and other notables who came to sit below its arching branches. The tree is a monument in itself now. If only it could speak!

LBJ28 Like his own version of Grauman’s Chinese theater, Johnson had visitors sign their name in concrete. Everyone from Billy Graham to Milton Berle can be found here.

LBJ27 Upper left is a certain Mr. Kennedy, may he rest in peace.

LBJ loved to play mind games on people. Whether it was carrying on a face-to-face conversation while sitting on an open toilet in the White House or playing a favorite trick with his Amphicar. Without telling his victim the car was amphibious he'd head straight for the river pretending the brakes were out while his passengers braced themselves to wreck, only to find the car floating happily on the water.

LBJ39

LBJ23

Pictures and memorabilia fill the tour shop to paint a human portrait of Johnson. Still, it's a painful reminder to think of what brought him to the Presidency. To step back into the Sixties and its time of hope and innocence lost forever filled me with mixed emotions between the serene countryside, the powerful feeling of history and the painful longing of what could have been.

LBJ11

LBJ21

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Comments

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Texas Hill country rocks!
That's how we grow 'em here in Tejas.
Are those live oaks? I went to Flickr and ran the slideshow. Regardless of what any of us thought of LBJ, and I was a high schooler in the sixties (enough said), you have to give the Park Service its props. Or whomever.

I wonder, in this day and age of tweets and re-tweets, how many suckers there would be for that old Amphicar gag?

As photographs go, the one which spoke to me the most was the old gas pumps. Something about the composition. (r)
Are those live oaks? I went to Flickr and ran the slideshow. Regardless of what any of us thought of LBJ, and I was a high schooler in the sixties (enough said), you have to give the Park Service its props. Or whomever.

I wonder, in this day and age of tweets and re-tweets, how many suckers there would be for that old Amphicar gag?

As photographs go, the one which spoke to me the most was the old gas pumps. Something about the composition. (r)
The whole place is a tad eerie with its frozen in time feel, Stacey. Interesting it was the gas pumps that gave you that feeling. And yes, those are oak trees on the immediate property. And I too feel a debt of gratitude to the preservation of the place. I still want to go back again.