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I spent much of the rest of October dealing with the aftermath of Somalia and fending off efforts in Congress to limit my ability to commit American troops to Haiti and Bosnia..cartier love ring replica.
On the twenty-sixth we finally celebrated a light moment, Hillarys first birthday in the White House. It was a surprise costume party. Her staff had arranged for us to dress up like James and Dolley Madison. When she got back from a long day of health-care work, she was led upstairs in a totally dark White House to find her costume. She came downstairs, looking wonderful in her hoop skirt and wig, to find me in white wig and colonial tights, and several of her staff dressed up like her in all her manifestations, with different hairdos and in different roles, from pushing health care to making tea and cookies. With my hair going white anyway, my wig looked good, but I looked ridiculous in the tights..cartier love bracelet replica.
The next day, dressed in normal clothes, Hillary and I personally delivered our health-care legislation to Congress. Hillary had been briefing members of Congress from both parties for weeks and getting rave reviews. Many House Republicans had praised our efforts, and Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island, who represented the Senate Republicans, said that while he disagreed with parts of our plan, he thought we could work together to produce a good compromise. I was beginning to believe we might actually have an honest debate that would produce something close to universal coverage..christian louboutin outlet online.
Our critics had a field day with the bills length, 1,342 pages. Every year Congress passes bills more than a thousand pages long dealing with less profound and complex subjects. Moreover, our bill would have eliminated far more pages of laws and regulations than it proposed to add. Everyone in Washington knew that, but the American people didnt. The bills length gave credibility to the effective ads the health insurance companies were already running against the plan. They featured two actors as a normal-looking couple named Harry and Louise, who talked wearily about their fears that the government was going to force us to pick from a few health plans designed by government bureaucrats. The ads were completely misleading but clever and widely seen. In fact, the bureaucratic costs imposed by the insurance companies were a big reason Americans paid more for health care but still didnt have the universal coverage that citizens in every other prosperous nation took for granted. The insurance companies wanted to keep the profits of an inefficient and unfair system; tapping into the well-known skepticism of Americans about any major government action was the best way to do it..cheap christian louboutin replica.
In early November, Congressional Quarterly reported that I had enjoyed a higher success rate with Congress than any President in his first year since President Eisenhower in 1953. We had passed the economic plan, reduced the deficit, and implemented many of my campaign promises, including the EITC expansion, the empowerment zones, a capital gains tax cut for small business, the childhood immigration initiative, and student-loan reform. Congress had also approved national service, the Russian aid package, the motor voter bill, and the family leave law. Both houses of Congress had passed versions of my crime bill, which would begin funding the 100,000 community police officers I had promised during the campaign. The economy had already produced more private-sector jobs than had been produced in the previous four years. Interest rates were still low, and investment was up..replica christian louboutin.
Al Gores campaign mantra was coming true. Now everything that should be up was up and everything that should be down was down, with one big exception. Despite the successes, my approval ratings were still low. On November 7, in a special Meet the Press interview I did with Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw on the shows forty-sixth anniversary, Russert asked me why my ratings were down. I told him I didnt know, though I had a few ideas..cheap christian louboutin.
A few days earlier I had read a list of our accomplishments to a group from Arkansas who were visiting the White House. When I finished, one of my home staters said, Then there must be a conspiracy to keep this a secret; we dont hear about any of this. Part of the fault was mine. As soon as I finished a task, I moved on to the next one, without doing a lot of follow-up communications. In politics, if you dont toot your own horn, it usually stays untooted. Part of the problem was the constant intrusion of crises like Haiti and Somalia. Part of it was the nature of the press coverage. The haircut, the Travel Office, and stories about the White House staff and our decision-making process were, I believed, either wrongly or overly reported..http://www.vvon.co.uk.
A few months earlier, a national survey had shown that I had received an unusually high amount of negative press coverage. I had brought some of it on myself in mishandling press relations early. And maybe the press, which was so often called liberal, was in fact more conservative than I was, at least when it came to changing how things were supposed to work in Washington. Certainly they had different notions of what was important. Also, most of the people covering me were young, trying to build their careers in a system of twenty-four-hour news coverage where every story was expected to have a political edge and there were no kudos from colleagues for positive stories. This was almost inevitable in an environment where the print and network news media faced more competition from cable channels and where the lines between traditional press, tabloids, partisan publications, and political talk shows on TV and radio were being blurred..cartier love bracelet replica.
The Republicans also deserved a lot of credit for the fact that my poll ratings were worse than my performance: they had been effective in their constant attacks and negative characterizations of the health-care and economic plans, and they had made the most of my mistakes. Since I had been elected, Republicans had won special U.S. Senate elections in Texas and Georgia, governors races in Virginia and New Jersey, and the mayoral races in New York and Los Angeles. In each case, the outcome was determined by decisive local factors, but I sure didnt have much positive influence. People didnt yet feel the economy getting better, and the old anti-tax, anti-government rhetoric still had a lot of juice. Finally, some of the things we were doing that would help millions of Americans were either too complex for easy consumption, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, or too controversial to avoid being politically damaging, even when they were good policy..cartier love ring replica.
November offered two examples of sound policy and questionable politics. After Al Gore plainly bested Ross Perot in a heavily watched TV debate on NAFTA, it passed the House, 234200. Three days later the Senate followed suit, 6138. Mark Gearan reported to the press that Al and I had called or seen two hundred members of Congress, and the cabinet had made nine hundred calls. President Carter also helped, calling members of Congress all day long for a week. We also had to make deals on a wide range of issues; the lobbying effort for NAFTA looked even more like sausage making than the budget fight had. Bill Daley and our whole team had won a great economic and political victory for America, but like the budget, it came at a high price, dividing our party in Congress and infuriating many of our strongest supporters in the labor movement..Cartier Watches Replica.
The Brady bill also passed in November, after the Senate Republicans backed off a filibuster inspired by the National Rifle Association. I signed the bill, with Jim and Sarah Brady in attendance. Ever since John Hinckley Jr. shot Jim in Hinckleys attempt to assassinate President Reagan, Jim and Sarah had crusaded for sensible gun-safety laws. They had worked for seven years to pass a bill requiring a waiting period for all handgun purchases so that the buyers backgrounds could be checked for criminal or mental-health problems. President Bush had vetoed an earlier version of the Brady bill because of the intense opposition of the NRA, which said it infringed on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The NRA believed the brief waiting period was an unacceptable burden on lawful gun buyers and declared that we could achieve the same result by increasing the penalties for illegally buying guns. Most Americans were for the Brady bill, but once it passed, it was no longer a voting issue with them. By contrast, the NRA was determined to defeat as many members of Congress who voted against them as possible. By the time I left office, the Brady background checks had kept more than 600,000 felons, fugitives, and stalkers from buying handguns. It had saved countless lives. But, like the budget, it exposed many of those brave enough to vote for it to harsh attacks, which were effective enough to drive several of them from office..cartier love ring replica.
Not everything positive I did was controversial. On the sixteenth, I signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was intended to protect a reasonable range of religious expression in public areas like schools and workplaces. The bill was designed to reverse a 1990 Supreme Court decision giving states more authority to regulate religious expression in such areas. America is full of people deeply committed to their very diverse faiths. I thought the bill struck the right balance between protecting their rights and the need for public order. It was sponsored in the Senate by Ted Kennedy and Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah, and passed 973. The House adopted it by a voice vote. Though the Supreme Court later struck it down, I remain convinced it was a good and needed piece of legislation..cartier love bracelet replica.
I always felt that protecting religious liberty and making the White House accessible to all religious faiths was an important part of my job. I assigned a member of the White House public liaison staff to be our bridge to the religious communities. I attended every one of the National Prayer Breakfasts that are held each year as Congress begins its work, speaking and staying for the entire event so that I could visit with the people of different faiths and political parties who came to pray for Gods guidance in our work. And every year when Congress resumed after the August recess, I hosted an interfaith breakfast in the State Dining Room that allowed me to hear the concerns of religious leaders and share mine with them. I wanted to keep open the lines of communication to them, even those who disagreed with me, and work with them whenever I could on social problems at home and humanitarian problems around the world..cartier juste un clou replica.
I believe strongly in separation of church and state, but I also believe that both make indisputable contributions to the strength of our nation, and that on occasion they can work together for the common good without violating the Constitution. Government is, by definition, imperfect and experimental, always a work in progress. Faith speaks to the inner life, to the search for truth and the spirits capacity for profound change and growth. Government programs dont work as well in a culture that devalues family, work, and mutual respect. And its hard to live by faith without acting on the scriptural admonitions to care for the poor and downtrodden, and to love thy neighbor as thyself..cartier love ring replica.
I was thinking about the role of faith in our national life in mid-November when I traveled to Memphis to address the convocation of the Church of God in Christ at Mason Temple Church. There had been a number of news reports about the rising tide of violence against children in African-American neighborhoods, and I wanted to discuss with the ministers and laypeople what we could do about it. There were obvious economic and social forces behind the disappearance of work in our inner cities, the breakdown of the family, the problems in schools, and the rise of welfare dependency, out-of-wedlock births, and violence. But the crushing combination of difficulties had created a culture that accepted as normal the presence of violence and the absence of work and two-parent families, and I was convinced that government alone could not change that culture. Many black churches were beginning to address these issues, and I wanted to encourage them to do more.
When I got to Memphis, I was among friends. The Church of God in Christ was the fastest-growing African-American denomination. Its founder, Charles Harrison Mason, received the inspiration for his churchs name in Little Rock, on a spot where I had helped lay a plaque two years earlier. His widow was in the church that day. The presiding bishop, Louis Ford of Chicago, had played a leading role in the presidential campaign.
Mason Temple is hallowed ground in the history of civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr. had preached his last sermon there, on the night before he was killed. I evoked the spirit of King and his uncanny prediction that his life might not last much longer to ask my friends to examine honestly the great crisis of the spirit that is gripping America today.
Then I put away my notes and gave what many commentators later said was the best speech of my eight years as President, speaking to friends from my heart in the language of our shared heritage:
If Martin Luther King were to reappear by my side today and give us a report card on the last twenty-five years, what would he say? You did a good job, he would say, voting and electing people who formerly were not electable because of the color of their skin. . . . You did a good job, he would say, letting people who have the ability to do so live wherever they want to live, go wherever they want to go in this great country. . . . He would say you did a good job creating a black middle class . . . in opening opportunity.
But, he would say, I did not live and die to see the American family destroyed. I did not live and die to see thirteen-year-old boys get automatic weapons and gun down nine-year-olds just for the kick of it. I did not live and die to see young people destroy their own lives with drugs and then build fortunes destroying the lives of others. That is not what I came here to do. I fought for freedom, he would say, but not for the freedom of people to kill each other with reckless abandon, not for the freedom of children to have children and the fathers of the children walk away from them and abandon them as if they dont amount to anything. I fought for people to have the right to work but not to have whole communities and people abandoned. This is not what I lived and died for.
I did not fight for the right of black people to murder other black people with reckless abandon. . . .
There are changes we can make from the outside in; thats the job of the President and the Congress and the governors and the mayors and the social service agencies. And then theres some changes were going to have to make from the inside out, or the others wont matter. . . . Sometimes there are no answers from the outside in; sometimes all the answers have to come from the values and the stirrings and the voices that speak to us from within. . . .
Where there are no families, where there is no order, where there is no hope . . . who will be there to give structure, discipline, and love to these children? You must do that. And we must help you.
So in this pulpit, on this day, let me ask all of you in your heart to say: We will honor the life and the work of Martin Luther King. . . . Somehow, by Gods grace, we will turn this around. We will give these children a future. We will take away their guns and give them books. We will take away their despair and give them hope. We will rebuild the families and the neighborhoods and the communities. We wont make all the work that has gone on here benefit just a few. We will do it together, by the grace of God.
The Memphis speech was a hymn of praise to a public philosophy rooted in my personal religious values. Too many things were falling apart; I was trying to put them together.
On November 19 and 20, I went back to putting things together, flying to Seattle for the first-ever leaders meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization. Before 1993, APEC had been a forum for finance ministers to discuss economic issues. I had suggested that the leaders themselves should meet every year to discuss our common interests, and I wanted to use our first meeting, on Blake Island, just off the coast of Seattle, to pursue three objectives: a free-trade area covering the Americas and the Asian Pacific nations; an informal discussion of political and security issues; and the creation of habits of cooperation, which clearly were going to be more important than ever in the twenty-first century. The Asia-Pacific nations accounted for half the worlds output and presented some of its most challenging political and security problems. In the past, the United States had never dealt with the region with the kind of comprehensive approach we followed toward Europe. I thought it was the moment to do so.
I enjoyed my time with the new Japanese prime minister, Morihiro Hosokawa, a reformer who had broken the Liberal Democratic Partys monopoly on power and who had continued to open Japan economically. I was also glad for the chance to talk at length with Chinas president, Jiang Zemin, in a more informal setting. We still had differences over human rights, Tibet, and economics, but we had a shared interest in building a relationship that would not isolate but integrate China into the global community. Both Jiang and Hosokawa shared my concern about the looming crisis with North Korea, which seemed determined to become a nuclear power, something I was determined to avoid and would need their help to accomplish.
Back in Washington, Hillary and I hosted our first state dinner, for South Korean president Kim Yong-Sam. I always enjoyed the official state visits. They were the most ritualized events to occur at the White House, beginning with the official welcoming ceremony. Hillary and I would stand at the South Portico of the White House to greet our guests as they drove up. After greeting them, we would walk out onto the South Lawn for a brief receiving line, and the visiting dignitary and I would stand onstage, facing an impressive array of uniformed men and women from our armed services. The military band would play both nations national anthems, after which I would escort my visitor on a review of the troops. We would then walk back to the stage to give brief remarks, often pausing on the way to wave to a crowd of schoolchildren, citizens from the visiting nation who were living in the United States, and Americans who had roots in the other country.
Before the state dinner, Hillary and I would host a small reception for the visiting delegation in the Yellow Oval Room on the residence floor. Al and Tipper, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and a few others would join us to visit with foreign guests. After the reception, a military honor guard of one man or woman from each service would escort us down the stairs past the portraits of my predecessors to a receiving line for the guests. During dinner, which was usually in the State Dining Room (with larger groups, dinner would be in the East Room or outside under a tent), we would be entertained by the U.S. Marine Corps Strolling Strings or their counterparts from the air force; I was always thrilled when they entered the room. After dinner, we had musical entertainment, often selected to suit the tastes of our guest. For example, Vclav Havel wanted to hear Lou Reed, whose hard-driving music had inspired Havels partisans in Czechoslovakias Velvet Revolution. I took every opportunity I could to bring all kinds of musicians to the White House. Over the years we had Earth, Wind and Fire, Yo-Yo Ma, Placido Domingo, Jessye Norman, and many other classical, jazz, blues, Broadway, and gospel musicians as well as dancers from several disciplines. For the entertainment, we usually had room to invite more guests than could be accommodated at the dinner. Afterward, anyone who wanted to stay returned to the foyer of the White House for dancing. Usually, the honored guests were tired and soon left for Blair House, the official guest residence. Hillary and I would stay for a dance or two, then go upstairs while the revelers stayed at it for another hour or so.
In late November, I participated in the annual tradition going back to President Coolidge, of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey, after which Hillary, Chelsea, and I left for a long Thanksgiving weekend at Camp David. I had a lot to be thankful for. My approval ratings were rising again, and American Airlines announced the settlement of its five-day-old strike. The strike could have been quite damaging to the economy; it was settled with the intense and skillful involvement of Bruce Lindsey. I was happy that my fellow citizens could fly home for the holiday.
Thanksgiving at Camp David became an annual tradition with our families and a few friends. We always had our Thanksgiving meal in Laurel, the largest cabin on the grounds, with its big dining and conference room, a large open space with a fireplace and television, and a private office for me. And we went by the dining hall to greet the navy and marine personnel and their families who kept the camp going. At night we watched movies and bowled. And at least once over the weekend, no matter how cold and rainy it was, Hillarys brothers, Roger, and I would play golf with whoever else was brave enough to go with us. Amazingly, Dick Kelley always played, though he was already almost eighty in 1993.
I loved every one of our Thanksgivings at Camp David, but the first one was special, because it was Mothers last. By late November, her cancer had spread and contaminated her bloodstream. She had to have blood transfusions every day just to stay alive. I didnt know how much longer she could last, but the transfusions made her look deceptively healthy and she was determined to live each day to the fullest. She enjoyed the football games on television, the meals, and visiting with the young servicemen and -women at the Camp David bar. The last thing she wanted to talk about was death. She was too alive to dwell on it.
On December 4, I went to California again, to hold an economic summit on the states continuing difficulties, and spoke to a large group of people in the entertainment community, at the headquarters of Creative Artists Agency, asking them to join me in a partnership to reduce the massive amount of violence the media directed at young people, as well as the cultures assault on family and work. Over the next two weeks, I kept two of my commitments from the budget battle: I went to Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinskys district for the conference on entitlements, and I appointed Bob Kerrey as co-chair, along with Senator John Danforth of Missouri, of a commission to study Social Security and other entitlements.
On December 15, I hailed the joint declaration of British prime minister John Major and Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds, which proposed a framework for the peaceful resolution of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It was a wonderful Christmas present, one that I hoped would give me an opportunity to play a role in resolving a problem I had first become interested in as a student at Oxford. On the same day, I named an old friend from the McGovern days, John Holum, to head the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and used the occasion to emphasize my nonproliferation agenda: ratification of the convention controlling chemical weapons, achieving a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, achieving permanent extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which expired in 1995, and fully funding the Nunn-Lugar program to secure and destroy Russian nuclear weapons and material.
On December 20, I signed a bill that was especially important to Hillary and me. The National Child Protection Act provided for a national database that any child-care provider could use to check the background of any job applicant. It was the brainchild of the writer Andrew Vachss, in response to stories of children subject to awful abuse in child-care centers. Most parents had to work, and therefore had to leave their preschool children in day care. They had a right to know their children would be safe and well cared for.
The Christmas season gave Hillary and me the chance to see Chelsea perform twice: in The Nutcracker with the Washington Ballet Company, where she went for class every day after school, and in a Christmas skit at the church we had chosen, Foundry United Methodist, on Sixteenth Street, not far from the White House. We liked Foundrys pastor, Phil Wogaman, and the fact that the church included people of various races, cultures, incomes, and political affiliations, and openly welcomed gays.
The White House is special at Christmastime. Every year a large Christmas tree is brought in for the oval Blue Room on the main floor. It is decorated, as are all the public rooms, according to the years theme. Hillary made American crafts the theme of our first Christmas. Artisans from around the country gave us Christmas ornaments and other works in glass, wood, and metal. Every Christmas, the State Dining Room has a huge gingerbread White House, which kids especially enjoy seeing. In 1993, about 150,000 people came through the White House during the holidays to see the decorations.
We also got another big tree for the Yellow Oval Room on the residence floor, and filled it with ornaments Hillary and I had been collecting since our first Christmas together. Traditionally, Chelsea and I put on most of the ornaments, following a practice we began as soon as she was old enough. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we hosted a large number of receptions and parties for Congress, the press, the Secret Service, the residence staff, the White House staff and cabinet, other administration officials and supporters from around the country, family, and friends. Hillary and I would stand in line for hours, greeting people and taking pictures, as choirs and other musical groups from around the country performed throughout the house. It was an exhausting but happy way to thank the people who made our work possible and our lives richer.
Our first Christmas was especially important to me because I knew that, like our first Camp David Thanksgiving, it would almost certainly be our last one with Mother. We persuaded her and Dick to come spend a week with us, which she agreed to do when I promised Id take her home in time for her to get ready to go to Las Vegas for Barbra Streisands much-heralded New Years Eve concert. Barbra really wanted her to come, and Mother was determined to go. She loved Barbra, and in her mind, Las Vegas was the closest thing shed seen to heaven on earth. I didnt know what shed do if it turned out there was no gambling or fancy entertainment in the afterlife.
While we were enjoying Christmas, Whitewater became an issue once more. For the previous several weeks, the Washington Post and the New York Times had been chasing rumors that Jim McDougal might be indicted again. In 1990, he had been tried and acquitted on charges arising out of the failure of Madison Guaranty. Apparently, the Resolution Trust Corporation was looking into whether McDougal had made illegal campaign contributions to politicians, including me. During the campaign, we had commissioned a report that proved we had lost money on the Whitewater investment. My campaign contributions were a matter of public record, and neither Hillary nor I had ever borrowed any money from Madison. I knew the whole Whitewater business was simply an attempt by my enemies to discredit me and impair my ability to serve.
Nonetheless, Hillary and I decided we should hire a lawyer. David Kendall had been at Yale Law School with us. He had represented clients in savings-and-loan cases and understood how to organize and synthesize complex and apparently unconnected material. There was a brilliant mind behind Davids modest Quaker demeanor, and a willingness to fight against injustice. He had been jailed for his civil rights activity in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964, and had argued death penalty cases for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Best of all, David Kendall was a terrific human being who would see us through the darkest moments of the years ahead with strength, judgment, and a great sense of humor.
On December 18, Kendall told us that the American Spectator, a right-wing monthly magazine, was about to publish an article by David Brock in which four Arkansas state troopers claimed they had procured women for me when I was governor. Only two of the troopers agreed to be interviewed on CNN. There were some allegations in the story that could be easily disproved, and the two troopers had credibility problems of their own, unrelated to their allegations against me: they had been investigated for insurance fraud involving a state vehicle they wrecked in 1990. David Brock later apologized to Hillary and me for the story. If you want to know more, read his brave memoir, Blinded by the Right, in which he reveals the extraordinary efforts made to discredit me by wealthy right-wingers with ties to Newt Gingrich and some adversaries of mine in Arkansas. Brock acknowledges that he allowed himself to be used in the smear by people who didnt care whether the damaging information they paid for was true or not.
The trooper story was ridiculous, but it hurt. It hit Hillary hard because she thought wed left all that behind in the campaign. Now she knew it might never end. For the moment, there was nothing to do but carry on and hope the story would blow over. While it was raging, we went to the Kennedy Center one night for a performance of Handels Messiah. When Hillary and I appeared in the Presidents box on the balcony, the large audience stood and cheered. We were moved by the kind and spontaneous gesture. I didnt realize how upset I had been until I felt tears of gratitude fill my eyes.
After a memorable Christmas week, Hillary, Chelsea, and I flew Mother and Dick home to Arkansas. Hillary and Chelsea stayed with Dorothy in Little Rock, and I drove with Mother and Dick to Hot Springs. We all went to dinner with some of my friends from high school at Rockys Pizza, one of Mothers favorite haunts, just across the street from the racetrack. After dinner Mother and Dick wanted to go to bed, so I took them home, then went bowling with my friends, after which we came back to the little house on Lake Hamilton to play cards and talk until the early hours of the morning.
The next day Mother and I sat alone together over a cup of coffee for what turned out to be our last visit. She was upbeat as always, saying the only reason the trooper story came out when it did was that my poll ratings had rebounded in the last month to their highest level since my inauguration. Then she chuckled and said she knew the two troopers werent the brightest lights on the horizon, but she sure wished the boys would find some other way to make a living.
For a brief moment I got her to think about the sand running out of the hourglass. She was working on her memoirs with a fine collaborator from Arkansas, James Morgan, and she had put her entire story on tape, but there were still several chapters in the drafting stage. I asked her what she wanted to happen if she didnt finish them. She smiled and said, Youre going to finish them, of course. I said, What are my instructions? She said I should check the facts, change anything that was wrong, and clarify anything that was confusing. But I want this to be my story in my words. So dont change it unless you think Ive been too hard on someone whos still alive. With that, she went back to discussing politics and her trip to Las Vegas.
Later that day I kissed Mother good-bye, drove to Little Rock to pick up Hillary and Chelsea, and flew to Fayetteville to see the number oneranked Arkansas Razorbacks play basketball, then on to the Renaissance Weekend with our friends Jim and Diane Blair. After a jam-packed year, so full of highs and lows, it was good to have a few days with old friends. I walked on the beach, played touch football with the kids and golf with my friends, went to the panels, and enjoyed the company.
But my thoughts were never far from Mother. She was a marvel, still beautiful at seventy, even after a mastectomy, chemotherapy treatments that took all her hair and forced her to wear a wig, and daily blood transfusions that would have put most people in bed. She was ending her life as she had lived it, going all out, grateful for her blessings, without a shred of self-pity for her pain and illness, and eager for the adventures of every new day she could get. She was relieved that Rogers life was on track, and convinced that I was mastering my job. She would have loved to live to be one hundred, but if her time was up, so be it. She had found her peace with God. He could call her home, but He would have to catch her on the run.