Professor J's Place

22 December, 2007

Birthday Week

Flash back a month or so ago. Susan asks sweetly, "What do you want for your birthday?" Now, I will probably post on this topic one day soon, but it has been a long time since I have wanted something and waited for it. If I want something reasonable (not an RV or a new lap top or anything outrageously expensive), I purchase it for myself. Gone are my girlhood days of the wish list. Everyone I know is this way--we just don't allow ourselves want any more.

So, I thought and thought, and here's what I came up with:

Yep, that's right. A trip to Johnson City!

For those of you out of "the know" (or those of you not from Texas), Johnson City is the home of Lyndon Johnson, our thirty-sixth president. It was actually named for his grandfather's brother, who donated the land for the original settlement. What a trip it would be to grow up in a town named for your family. Perhaps that gave LBJ some of his sense of responsibility and destiny. Perhaps it lent a little hubris to the mix. And yes, I am a dork. I am a bit of a political junky and I love social and political history (I'm not so big on the history of wars).

Here's the house Johnson lived in from the age of eight until he left home.

President Johnson was a great president. SAY WHAT? Has Professor J lost her ever lovin' mind? Okay, I take it back. President Johnson had a great record domestically. I will admit that the war in Vietnam was a great big clusterf**k, and he managed to make it even worse with many of his decisions. I will also admit that he was controlling, manipulative, paranoid, and downright mean at times. But, my god, what that man accomplished domestically.

In 1964, after his landslide election, Johnson passed a major civil rights bill. In 1965, he passed the voting rights act. He gave us medicare, for which I would personally like to thank him (my mother would have died much sooner and in a great deal more pain without it). He passed more education bills than any president before or after (combined). He gave us Head Start. And, at the urging of his lovely partner (an early and strong environmentalist), he passed our first clean air and water acts, he added dozens of national parks and wildlife refuges, and he passed the highway bill (remember when our highways were cluttered with billboards every few feet?).

I can't help it. I like the guy.

And by the way, do I not have the best girlfriend in the world? Who else would consider this trip a romantic getaway?

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Blogger Mrs. G. said...

There is not one politician on God's green earth that doesn't have a few blunders to answer for...except for our current president who just alltogether IS a blunder.

But LBJ? He was a good (though coarse and colorful) man and a GREAT president. I love him.

And Lady Bird? Because of the wildflowers? I love her just a teensy bit more.

Happy belated birthday. It sounds like a great trip.

December 22, 2007 at 1:41 PM  
Anonymous AuthorMomWithDogs said...

Thanks for the refresher history lesson on LBJ. He did do a lot of good on this side of the world.

Happy belated too!

December 22, 2007 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Family Adventure said...

She definitely loves you!!! :)

Thanks for all that info on LBJ - I knew nothing about him at all, except the name of his wife! That's what makes it across the ocean, sadly.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday.


December 22, 2007 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger BipolarLawyerCook said...

I am a big fan of LBJ's domestic policies, especially his welfare funding/education funding/job training programs. He and Nixon (yep, Nixon) had the best welfare programs ever-- but both programs were undercut by congresses intent on opposing other policies by passing nothing. Rrr. Politics.

December 22, 2007 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger BipolarLawyerCook said...

And, um, duh--- Happy Birthday!

December 22, 2007 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Happy Birthday!I like trips like that, too. We live close to Herbert Hoover's birthplace and presidential library- he's also gets a bad rap, but was a brilliant man and was one of few to decline his salary from the feds(not sure of the technical term for this...). We live close to Reagan's boyhood home as well, but haven't made that trip yet.
Thanks for the info!

December 22, 2007 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger so NOT cool said...

I love the mini history lesson! :)

And, now, I'm off to look up Johnson City on a map. My husband has been working in the Oklahoma/Texas area, and a possible visit to that locale is in my future. If I end up near Johnson City, I'll have to have a look.

December 23, 2007 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Jozet at Halushki said...

Happy Birthday!

And yes, what a wonderful birthday present!

My fantasy destination is Monticello. I read an article on the fabulous architecture and have wanted to go every since. And can you believe that I live this close to Falling Water and have never seen it? Hhmmph.

Romance is not always found in a hot tub.

December 23, 2007 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Wow, you make me want to go. I'm so glad you found something you WANT and that your marvelous girlfriend got it for you. Looks like a nice time. :)

Using My Words

December 23, 2007 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Rima said...

The things on my wish list these days are a lot less tangible than before. And when they happen, they're that much better.

I hope you enjoy your birthday trip (and thanks for stopping by my site!)

December 23, 2007 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

Happy Birthday week and have a great time on that trip!!!!!

December 23, 2007 at 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Happy belated birthday!! By the way one of my favorite trips to Austin involved spending hours in the LBJ library.

December 25, 2007 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger JCK said...

Happy Birthday! I loved your synopsis on LBJ. I had no idea he did all of that on the domestic front. And yes, you have the best girlfriend in the world. Hey, you can make anywhere romantic. It's the people, not the place.

December 27, 2007 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Lisa Milton said...

Happy birthday, Karen. (Sorry I'm running behind.)

I love that she is that woman for you. I've traveled to sporting events that make my eyes bleed, because it really is what my hubby likes. Always romantic; still fun.

(I was just checking out a historical farm last night, plotting a pioneer experience for my family. We're nerdy history people too. Proud.)

December 28, 2007 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Grandy said...

Happy Belated Birthday!!

The whole vietnam thing was a flustercluck, you are right. I hadn't realized how much he did for us domestically.

Thanks for the reminder!!

December 29, 2007 at 10:01 AM  

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