President Obama, Ruby Redpepper and me

My friend, Ruby Redpepper, has become so well-known that a very wonderful thing happened. President Obama invited her to a presidential retreat at Camp David. He told her he wants to experience the wonders of the animal kingdom with a true expert.

Earlier this year, as some readers may remember, I wrote a post about Ruby Redpepper coming to my house to give advice about releasing indigenous wild animals into my naturally landscaped front yard. Ruby owns AFS (Animal Fulfillment Specialists), and her knowledge about animals is unsurpassed.animal expert1

In August, I wrote a post about traveling to Hawaii for a seminar that Ruby held there. Not long after that, she called and said because of my enthusiasm and dedication to learn about animals, she wanted to hire me as an assistant for the Camp David retreat. I couldn’t believe it. I get to be Ruby’s assistant, and I’ll meet the President.

Ruby and I met up the day before leaving, and she enthralled me with stories of rare lemurs during her recent trip to Madagascar.Ruby amazes Jim

The President sent a plane to pick us up, and I took a photo of Ruby before boarding.tricia at airport

We arrived in Washington, DC, and received an invitation to a dinner for diplomats at the White House. As the President came down the aisle, I got bumped trying to take a photo of Ruby while she stood in line. Ruby Redpepper with Pres. Obama

After shaking hands with the guy below, the President introduced himself to Ruby and me. I commented on his tie, but I was so nervous, it came out, “I like your purple tail.” My face turned as red as a ripe tomato.Pres. Obama

The President smiled and said “Jim, I’m sorry to say I don’t have a purple tail, but maybe Ruby can spot a purple-tailed animal at Camp David.”

The next day we went to Camp David, however, they requested we refrain from taking pictures, which was too bad because we went on a long afternoon hike, and Ruby amazed the President and me with her magical ability to bring about encounters with a variety of animals just by wandering through the woods.

When we finished our hike, Ruby apologized to the President for not finding an animal with a purple tail. The President said, “Perhaps we have one more chance. Jim, do you have a purple tail?”

Before I could answer, Ruby said, “I bet he does. Sometimes I see his ears turn purple.”

Oh, I got upset. I jumped up and down and shouted, “I don’t have purple ears, and I don’t have a purple tail!”

The President said, “We’re just joking, Jim. I’m sure you don’t have a purple tail.”

Ruby gave me a pat on the back and said “There, there, Jim. It’s all right.”  She told me I’d been a great assistant and was giving me a purple ribbon for outstanding effort.

That made me feel really, really special.


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