George W. Bush shared tales of his late father’s wildest adventures during a eulogy Wednesday that drew both laughs and tears from the crowd at Washington National Cathedral mourning the death of George H.W. Bush.
Bush lived a long and full life, dying on Nov. 30 at the age of 94. And many of his fondest memories came from his final years on Earth.
At age 85, George H.W. Bush’s “favorite pastime” included firing up his boat and flying across the Atlantic as Secret Service boats “strained to keep up,” Bush recalled. Five years later, at age 90, George H.W. parachuted out of an aircraft and landed outside St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine – where he worshipped as a child.
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In George H.W. Bush’s 90s, his best friend James. A Baker “smuggled” a bottle of Grey Goose vodka into his hospital room – to which he took “great delight,” Bush joked.
“Apparently it paired well with the steak Baker had delivered from Morton’s,” he added as the crowd roared with laughter.
George H.W. Bush was constantly seeking spontaneity and “broadening his horizons” by making “daring decisions,” Bush explained.
“To us, he was close to perfect. But not totally perfect.”
“He placed great value on a good joke. That’s why he chose Simpson to speak,” he jested.
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Bush went on to describe an e-mail thread his dad shared with a group of his friends, explaining how they used to share jokes with one another online.
Don Rhodes,Taylor Blanton, Jim Nance, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Clinton were among the names Bush listed as his father’s close friends. Bush and his siblings call them “brothers from other mothers.”
“To us, he was close to perfect. But not totally perfect. His short game was lousy. He wasn’t exactly Fred Astaire on the dance floor. The man couldn’t stomach vegetables, especially broccoli,” Bush continued, adding that he passed along some of these traits to his children.
But all jokes aside, Bush said he hoped his father is remembered for his various accomplishments in the White House, his dignity and his everlasting love for his friends, family and country.
“Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever,” Bush said. “So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could ask.”