Heavenly Iowa and yet another life lesson

Roosevelt! the play

Roosevelt! the play

I was fortunate to premier Roosevelt! at the Donna Reed Theater in Denison, Iowa this past week.  I gave two performances there – one with almost 350 fourth and fifth graders who learned about their 26th President and many of his adventures.  They were so well behaved that both Mrs. Roosevelt and I couldn’t believe it.  I was told afterwards that usually these children are fidgeting in their seats, but that they were so engaged in the stories that they didn’t move a muscle!  We did an evening performance as well, which went great with much discussion in the hallway after.

I also performed at The Kaleidoscope Factory in Pocahontas, Iowa the following day to a fun crowd.

Many years ago I read a book entitled “Blue Highways” by William Least Heatmoon about traveling the back roads of America.  After a very scary near-death experience on the Interstate, I have for almost 3 decades preferred the road less traveled.  My beautiful wife is great at hunting out places to see when we drive the unbeaten path and one such trip she found a factory that made Kaleidoscopes.  It was in a very small town and when we stopped we ended up spending several hours with the owner.  When he asked what I did, I told him I was just starting to portray Theodore Roosevelt and he offered at that moment to “Hire me someday”.  Five years later I received an email from him saying he was ready – if I was.  He had moved to a larger town, and was converting his shop  – when he could – a few evenings a month into a specialty live entertainment venue for performances.

When we arrived there was sawdust on the floors and tables set up for manufacturing!  Within a few hours, we had converted the whole place to a small theater complete with seating and a stage.

Life lesson From Roosevelt “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

Life Lesson from Leonard: “I just do what I can, with what I have, where I am”

Please take a moment to learn about this amazing man by visiting him at http://www.kaleidoscopefactory.com/ and like him on Facebook at The Kaleidoscope Factory.    I highly recommend one of his handmade scopes – they are a great way spend a few minutes of enjoyment each week without the need for batteries! (Had mine for over 5 years so I know!)

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Roosevelt in Ireland

The Stag's Head

The Stag’s Head

I just returned from a week in Ireland for my “real job”.  While there, I took a few days to tour the Dublin area and see the sights.  Two events lead to discussions about Teddy Roosevelt – even though I never told them about my work back in America as the great man.

The first came when I was touring a castle north of Dublin and as we toured we entered a child’s bedroom with a stuffed bear on a chair.  I asked her what they call that kind of bear in Ireland and she just looked at me sort of perplexed.  “You mean the Teddy Bear?” she pondered.  I asked her if she knew who the bear was named after and she said “I am not sure of how to pronounce it – but Roooooooooooosavelt”?

The second came at the famous Stag Head Pub in Dublin.   I was speaking with the Gentleman behind the bar about a place with a similar name back in the states.  (the Buckhorn exchange in Denver).  I mentioned The Buckhorn hosted both Buffalo Bill and Roosevelt frequently because the owner was a hunting guide.  When I told him this, he started speaking of Roosevelt and his accomplishments.  We had a lively discussion about history, Roosevelt and hunting general.

I never once mentioned my connection to representing the man, only listened and fixed facts when needed.

The Buckhorn Exchange

The Buckhorn Exchange

It reinforced to me the impact Roosevelt made during his life and of course in the history books.  His accomplishments truly reach across the globe.