October 16th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #635 'Return of the wanderer'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: I often wonder how much time President Obama gets to spend with his family, and I thought I’d write about that a bit in my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Our elder daughter came home from college for the weekend! First visit since she went off to college. She is loving her experience at Georgia Tech, the school is terribly impressive, and our whole family is so proud of her; but at the same time it is such a pleasure to have her home. She flew back in time to see her younger sister play French horn in the marching band at the high school football game (the team lost, but hey…can’t have everything) and we cooked up a big pot of chili and bought a pumpkin pie.

The timing, as I’m sure you noticed, could not have been better. The leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping; the feel of autumn is upon us. Of course, like so many positives in the world, it didn’t come without some work - to wit, the ghost.

We have a plastic ghost that we place in our attic window each Halloween season, and I put it up there some days ago in advance of the homecoming. However, a few days after that we noticed that the light bulb inside the ghoul had, ironically, died. Now, I need to explain that placing this phantom in the topmost window in the house is no small chore.

For some reason when the house was built, access to this part of the attic was blocked off by a combination of trusses, plywood panels, two-by-fours. The only way to reach the window is by dropping down, shimmying along a board through a tiny triangular tunnel about ten feet long, and then hoisting yourself up through a trap door into the upper level of the attic. The path is treacherous (I mean, not in a Chilean mine sort of way, but still…) because of all the billowy fiberglass insulation all around (which you touch at peril) and the sharp roofing tacks that poke down through the roof, and the frequency with which you can’t help but crack your head on the beams.

Having braved the trip to put the ghost into place, I was not thrilled about making it again to replace a failed bulb. I was even less happy when I crawled in, twisted a new bulb into place, and then promptly knocked the ghost over and broke the replacement. So I scooted out, grabbed yet another bulb, tunneled back in again, and finally completed the job. In the process I jammed my knee into one of the roofing tacks and cut it a fair bit, but I’m caught up on my tetanus shots, so it’s not a worry.

Anyway, I’m not sure why I’m even telling you all this, but it’s a custom with our family and sometimes I figure that’s what you must miss the most as president - simple things like putting up decorations, making chili, going to a high school football game, and welcoming home someone who has gone away. This weekend, our magic number of four has been restored, and all is right with the world.

Hope things are good for you, too. Don’t bother calling this weekend. Not that I would not appreciate it, but we’re having family time.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Brenda!

    I think every word you wrote was pertinent, so valid, and important. Thank you for your honesty, and for sharing yourself with the world. We all have a history, and it is relevant to society what we do with it. We can become bitter, angry, vengeful etc.. or we can choose to learn, engage, and become better than we might have been, for having the experience. I wish that no one had to learn this way...but life is certainly a teacher. Keep singing songbird...your were given a gift!

    October 16, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  2. Robert Stroney

    I think the President, though his schedule is full, still finds time for his wife, children and GrandMa.
    I think he's pretty much like you, Tom, aside from his "oval office"; I mean – I don't have an oval desk, do you? lol.

    October 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm |