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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laura Bush Visits Fort Worth Bookstore


Since part of my shtick is writing about cool things in Fort Worth, I had to write about this one. First Lady Laura Bush was in Fort Worth yesterday (April 5) signing her national bestseller, Spoken From the Heart. Men and women were lined up for hours to get their hands on the paperback and meet the western beauty.

But there is a better part to this story. Since I had a VIP pass I got to stand in a short line with some fascinating Fort Worth people. (No, the VIP pass is not the better part of this story ... hold on). The only person I knew in the "cool line" was Fort Worth artist, Cindi Holt, so I stuck by her and played solitaire on my iPhone to look like I had people to email. Dang. Why do I get so nervous going to crowded events alone? Probably because I'm normal, despite what the Paxil commercials tell you.

Side note: You may be wondering how an unimportant person like me got a VIP pass. Because people did ask. Ugh. One of my husband’s business contacts in Dallas thought I would be interested, so he passed his VIP status on to me. 

When we walked up to have our books signed, Mrs. Bush looked up at Holt and said, “Hi, Cindi … I want to go back to The Pebble sometime.” This is Holt's private art space. "Cool!" I thought to myself. I wanted to know more. 

Governor's Mansion
After some asking around I figured out how Bush knew the Fort Worth artist so well. Holt not only did a series of commissioned paintings of the Texas Governor’s Mansion for the Bushes, but she also designed their 2004 White House Christmas card.

Mrs. Bush was such a fan of Holt’s work that just before they were leaving the White House she asked to be taken to Holt’s personal studio, which is The Pebble. The First Lady continued to peruse the art for a while with her White House staff, but kept coming back to one piece. It was a painting of one of her favorite spots at the White House. Her staff took note of her admiration and bought the painting from Holt as a White House parting gift to the Bushes.

I was so proud of Fort Worth and its brilliant art community. I was also happy Fort Worth hosted such an event and opened it to the public. This made me want to check the book signing calendar so I can meet more authors that blow through. So I provide you with a schedule link here. And did you know Barnes & Noble has poetry night? Not really my thing, but just sayin'.

* Stay tuned this fall for Holt's art show presenting her Big Bend series.

[The not-so-cool part was when I walked up to Mrs. Bush, just smiled at her and said nothing for what felt like an hour. I totally freaked her out, but hey, I'm easily starstruck. I then said, “I lived in Odessa for a few months" to try and relate. Really? It was awkward.]

Laura Bush coming in the back door at Barnes & Noble
(she's in the red)
The Red Room at the White House (2004 Christmas Card that was emailed to two million people.)