By John D. Pierce
President Jimmy Carter’s 75th birthday in October 1999 coincided with the completed restoration of the beautiful Rylander Theater in downtown Americus, Ga. So Sumter County residents rolled the grand opening of the revived historic theater and the milestone birthday of their favorite son into one big celebration.
Primarily this was a local event, but the former president invited seasoned singers Pat Boone (with his white shoes and clean reputation) and Lynn Anderson (of “Rose Garden” fame) to perform. To balance the act, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter asked the Indigo Girls to sing — and they agreed.
Just before the event, President Carter met with the handful of media present that included former ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson and UPI correspondent Helen Thomas — who had covered the Carter campaigns and presidency and seemed delighted to be back in Southwest Georgia.
Donaldson asked if the Carters stilled jogged as he remembered from years ago. President Carter said they did not, but enjoyed riding bikes around their small hometown of Plains — and visiting a neighborhood where several African-American families live.
Intrigued, Thomas asked: “What do they do when a former President of the United States comes riding up on a bicycle?” Read More…