LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — President Theodore Roosevelt Crashes The Birthday Party

The most auspicious day on our calendar arrived. My husband and our twin daughters share the same birthday. (Karma, eh?) And we celebrate big each year.

This year was ramped up by a long shot because it was Jim’s 70th. Around this milestone, we planned a family reunion with his six siblings and their spouses, held in historic Medora, N.D.  Much laughter and sharing of memories ensued, and more than a few bottles of wine met their demise.

The coup de grace was at Saturday night’s dinner party in the Rough Rider Hotel, when during the toasts, President Theodore Roosevelt popped in to extend his birthday greetings to Jim and his well wishes to the gathering. Everyone’s expression when I walked into the banquet room on the arm of TR was priceless, especially Jim’s.

Jim’s sister, Sue, took video of the speech, and if she figures out how to upload that to YouTube, I’ll add a link. TR is portrayed by our good friend, Joe Wiegand, a true ambassador for Medora and the Bad Lands.

Everyone’s toasts were very heartfelt and moving. Jim is the much loved and admired patriarch of the family, and has been for several decades, sadly due to the early death of his father.

A fish feast prepared by Blake and Blair.

This group takes their Bloody Marys very seriously.

Rachel and I enjoyed watching people play minigolf while some of the Fuglies golfed at Bully Pulpit and Chelsea enjoyed TR National Park.

Our little family ended the weekend in the Bad Lands by eating at the Pitchfork Fondue and attending the sold-out Medora Musical! And we had a grand evening with almost 3,000 others.

After a weekend of more good Medora memories, it was home to Bismarck, where we hosted a gathering of good friends for this occasion.

And finally came the time when I gave Jim the present I’d stashed away months ago: a signed, first edition of Hermann Hagedorn’s “Roosevelt in the Bad Lands.”

Lordy, I love this man and our life!

Leave a Reply