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Bush Can’t Get A Break On Vacations

August 31, 1991

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) _ Like many Americans, President Bush is enjoying his last few days of summer vacation this Labor Day weekend. But for Bush, August often seemed like a month of labor days.

He said before heading to Maine Aug. 6 that he had earned this vacation after 12 months of hard work and ″it will not be denied.″

He proved no prophet.

First a turn in the hostage situation in Lebanon and later the tumultuous events in Moscow turned his vacation topsy-turvy.

Dock Square, the business center of the resort, has become a mecca for demonstrators against Bush’s policies on abortion, unemployment benefits, the Baltics and AIDS.

There was - Hold Your Hat 3/8 - a hurricane in the mix.

Bush has held half a dozen news conferences, and at least that many informal encounters with the press corps.

He jetted back to Washington just once - an improvement over last August’s three round-trips during the onset of the Persian Gulf crisis.

But between the scheduled interruptions, including visits by the prime ministers of Canada and Britain, and unscheduled ones, it was an August so busy that Bush was muttering to aides that he had never felt so harried during his hallowed August retreat at Walker’s Point.

″What is it about August?″ he griped aloud at the height of the Soviet coup.

The phrase wound up on a local T-shirt and Bush himself got one of the shirts as a gift the other day as he left the golf course.

When a reporter jokingly asked, ″Well, what is it about August?″ Bush replied, ″Too many questions.″

″I figured out I’ve had more press conferences″ in these past two summer months than any president in history, he said.

″So I think the best thing is not to take any unless you really have something to say,″ said Bush.

Then another reporter fired off a question for the fourth time that day about humanitarian aid for the Soviets.

Bush stopped in his tracks and, flouting his edict, proceeded to give a no- news answer that took nearly five minutes.


Timing is everything in life, and the timing of Susan Bisby and Douglas Jann’s wedding reception was just perfect.

The couple was celebrating with family and friends in the Seascapes Restaurant in Cape Porpoise, Maine, last Saturday, just up the coast from the president’s home, when Bush came spinning into the dock on his speedboat Fidelity with his wife Barbara in for a takeout sandwich. Tourists swarmed the dock for a glimpse of the president, and the commotion drew the bride outside.

″Hey 3/8 The bride 3/8″ shouted Bush, promptly inviting her down for a picture.

The 23-year-old bride from Drake’s Island, Maine, gingerly hoisted her flowing white gown and made her way down a rickety gangplank to a pier. The dockside crowd let out a cheer when she made it onto Fidelity without falling into the drink.

White House photographer David Valdez was at the ready to capture the picture of the newlyweds, the Bushes and the golf legend.

″I can’t believe it. He was a sweetheart,″ said the young wife.

The 22-year-old groom from Fairfield, Conn., agreed that it made for a ″more exciting″ wedding day.


Even with tips from Arnold Palmer, Bush’s golf game remains a source of frustration. He never reveals his score and takes so many mulligans - extra shots - that a proper accounting is almost impossible.

But he relishes the game, and on more than a few mornings has teed off at dawn at the Cape Arundel Golf Club, a par-69 course that skirts the Kennebunk River.

He remains an optimist, perhaps even a Pangloss, about his opportunities.

The other day, approaching the 18th green, he hit his second shot into the trees, then lofted a mulligan into a sandtrap. Reverting to the second ball, he spliced it behind a pine tree, practically in the parking lot.

″I’ll feather it in from here,″ declared the president as he eyed the impossible shot.

Bush swung and moved the ball sideways about 10 yards, a step closer to a double bogey.


Trying to squeeze in as much golf as possible, the president played 18 holes Friday afternoon and was back out again this morning at daybreak, teeing off shortly after 6 a.m.

His wife, Barbara, daughter, Dorothy, and son Jeb braved the early-morning call and swarms of mosquitoes to accompany the president. But it was a short- lived outing. A light rain came up and built steadily into a heavy downpour, accompanied by flashes of lightning and thunder.

The president, who is known to play through storms, decided to call it quits on the ninth hole. The first family rushed back on golf carts to the club house, dried out then returned to their ocean-front home on Walker’s Point.