At a seat from the President’s table two years later

At a seat from the President’s table two years later

With Hostess Devin Congdon. Every day people ask Devin if Obama really ate here.
• August 21, 2015

For those dwindling faithful still with me lost in the funhouse on the road in a pilgrim’s progress in this my summer of love, today’s installment may ring, as Mark Twain might say, a stretcher. see On the Road. Destination Little Bohemia in the South Wedge. 

On August 22, 2013, President Obama enjoyed a stopover lunch at Magnolia’s on Park Avenue while on a bus trip from Buffalo to Syracuse. Does his brief stay really count as a “Presidential Visit?”

No inaugural train (Lincoln, 1861), Monument Dedication (Harrison, 1892), political rally (Johnson, 1964, Carter, 1980, Reagan, 1984) or leftover signed chalkboard (George H.W. Bush, 1989) as described here.  When President George H.W. Bush visited Wilson on May 18th, 1989

 

obama 1

Provided by Susan Palermo

And does two years really count as an Anniversary? Five, yes. By then we’ll have a new President. (Can Magnolia’s lure The Donald for a power lunch? Will Bernie pick up the tab as did Obama?) In ten, still in his prime what will Obama be doing? My prediction. Sitting in a different chair on the Supreme Court. At twenty five, hopefully still alive rounding out his legacy when another D & C blogger sits here. At fifty, ranked and pondered by Presidential historians — that is if Magnolia’s and the US Presidency still exist.

Actually, after speaking with Magnolia’s owner Susan Palermo and staff members who were there two summers ago, I realized anew what a cool footnote in Rochester’s history was Obama’s cameo.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Paul MacAulzy, 66, Rochester,

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Paul MacAulzy, 66, Rochester (D & C)

As Susan explained, both locals and out-of-towners still consistently drop by to see the chair and photo montage, often snapping their own pictures and asking her questions. Many remember the “where were you” day vividly.  Others, especially visitors to the Park Avenue Festival, never knew about the lunch or only dimly recall. The montage attracts the curious of all sorts: Obama supporters (and detractors), the political junkie, or just those fascinated by lived history in their midst. To staff members who shook President Obama’s hand, August 22nd will always be a special day. Hostess Devin Congdon (pictured) says every day people ask if Obama really ate there and what did he eat. The same grilled cheese and soup as I, now the Obama Special.

Also see Reverend Mothers, Empaths of Enlightenment, American buskers and more at the Park Avenue Festival

Susan will be at the café on Saturday. So come by if you haven’t seen the montage. She will be happy to fill in any details.

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With Presidential grilled cheese and soup, now the Obama Special

Finally, as I sit in the Presidential Chair, I am announcing the commencement of my own campaign.  This year  — when the people speak — I plan to topple Rachel Barnhart from her perch as the top blogger in Rochester! Sorry, Rach. Hey, if Donald Trump can be leading in the polls in this my summer of love, so can I. See Visiting a Talker haunt: the Brickyard Trail with Leslie Frances and Audrey

For all Prez visits see:

11 years ago when President Bush met J-Mac. And the judgment of history.

 

About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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