With the first lady out of town and the president looking for a good time, invitations went out to some of the best storytellers on Capitol Hill for an evening of "yarn swapping" at the White House.
"He just wanted to have the boys come in, have dinner, and have a bull session," Alabama Sen. Howell Heflin said Saturday. "Most of it was just levity and jokes. It was just sort of a night out with the boys."Nancy Reagan was in New York to meet with her publisher, Random House, about plans to write her memoirs.
Democrat Heflin was one of six legislators who shared their best stories with President Reagan during a four-hour session Friday night in the president's private quarters at the White House.
And what were some of those best stories?
"That's one thing there's a pledge of secrecy on," Heflin said. "At least on the stories he might have told, anyway. . . . There were a lot of good ones, but they're all super secret."
Heflin said he told Reagan his story about "expectations," where the elderly lady, after striking up a conversation on an airplane with an elderly gentleman, pats him on the knee and tells him he reminds her of her third husband.
"The man said, `Oh, is that right. And how many times have you been married?' And she replied, `twice,"' Heflin said.
On another occasion, Heflin said, Reagan told the group about some of his discussions with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev during the Moscow summit in May.
Reagan also talked at length about his early days in the movies, Heflin said, and at one point he described all the "considerations and ethics boards and everything" that had to be cleared before Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, could use the word "damn" in the closing scene of "Gone With The Wind."