Friday, October 12, 2007

Regula no longer "on the fence"

I spent the most wonderful hour today chatting with long-time Congressman Ralph Regula. The 18-term (yes "18") Representative announced Friday that he's retiring at the end of his current term, which expires in January of 2009.

After a whopping 49 years in public service (35 in Washington, 8 in the Ohio Legislature, and 5 in the Ohio School Board), the 82-year-old Navarre grandfather says it's time to enjoy his golden years.

While Regula told me about his plans to speak in the classroom to young people interested in public service .. and spoke at length about his goals to improve education during his final year+ in office .. it was the story of his fence that stands out to me.

I snapped a photo of him next to the fence so you can see for yourself. Can you guess what kind of wood that is?

Here's the story as Regula shares it: While visiting with President Reagan, Regula was admiring some of the photos of the Commander in Chief's California Ranch. He noticed Mr. Reagan's fence and asked about it. The President responded by telling him how the former actor took a chain saw to some telephone poles and "made himself the best fence ever." Reagan simply cut up those poles like life-size Lincoln Logs.

So Regula .. being an outdoorsman with a 200-acre farm himself .. decided to give it a try. Remember, at that time Regula was in his 60's. With phone companies burying more of their cables than ever before, their poles are available for a minimal amount, Regula says. So he hired some heavy equipment guys to bring them to Navarre, got out his saw, and made himself a fence too.

Regula sent photos over to the White House to show off his handiwork. Reagan sent him back a note that said something to the effect of, "Nice Job Ralph. Keep me 'posted' as to how well your fence works out."

Don't think Regula is headed for blue-hair-ville in Florida either. He tells me that the only golf cart he'll be driving in retirement is a John Deere.

No comments: