From all appearances, the Nexus luncheon at Union Station today was going to be chock full of media challenges. It wasn’t just the fact that the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, were the headliners. Nope. If you added in the moderator being Candice “Soon-To-Be- Mrs.-Tony-Romo” Crawford, then you bumped into coverage obstacles everywhere you turned. Game rules for media coverage were:
- No photography after the first three minutes of the luncheon program.
- No interviews with the Bush twins.
- No questions about Candice’s wedding.
- No questions for Tony about the wedding plans.
- No attending private reception.
Sorta like having a conversation with David Kunkle, Ron Natinsky and Mike Rawlings without mentioning elections.
While the VIP’s attended the private reception in the Texas Pacific Room with honorary chair Allie Beth Allman at the door, the media weren’t the only ones banned from entering. Even adorable gals in short skirts with pink bags selling raffle tickets for Nexus like Julie Freeman were turned away from the door. But the gals didn’t give up. They just turned their efforts to the crowd gathered in the Stationmasters Lounge waiting to be seated for lunch.
At 11:30 the reception broke up and the curtains to the Grand Hall were pulled back for 560 guests to make their way to their tables. In the hall they found a stage with three comfortable chairs for the girls’ chat.
At just three minutes before noon Tony arrived wearing his oh-so familiar driving cap and a healthy amount of facial growth. He was whisked away to “Candice’s table,”
where he joined members of her family in from Oklahoma. After a few stand-up photos with fans and friends, he settled back to watch his gal play luncheon quarterback. He didn’t look like a fellow who had missed the cut for the US Open. Instead he looked like a smitten groom-to-be.
At 12:10 Nexus president Beverly Barry took charge of the podium. Or, at least, she tried to, but mike problems delayed her charge. When she did take over, she not only recognized the people instrumental for the luncheon, she also introduced “Jackie” who opened with “I am an addict.” Jackie went on to tell how she had lost a successful life due to her husband’s introducing her to cocaine. From there it was downhill to being homeless, needy and addicted. Thanks to Nexus, she turned her life around. Jackie’s talk was brief, to the point, and rewarded with a room of applause.
Next on the agenda were the three girls who faced the daunting acoustics of the hall. Perhaps it was her work with NBC or just her nature, but Jenna was the best at being heard while Candice’s and Barbara’s comments required translators at some of the tables.
The three talked about the kind of things that first twins and a soon-to-be-married gal would. The Bush girls admitted that they liked living in the same city (New York City) nowadays. Jenna told of a day that she and her husband Henry returned home from a trip only to find a “Goldilocks” situation in their apartment. Barbara was asleep in their bed with their cat.
Speaking of cats, Candice told the group that earlier in the day the threesome had visited Nexus and Candice was impressed with Barbara’s ease in talking with the children. When asked to what Barbara attributed her ability to talk with children so well, Barbara said she “talks to kids the same way she talks to her cat.”
But Jenna continued to steal the show with her comments like:
- “Barbara (who studied at Yale) didn’t even apply to (the University of) Texas.”
- Their Secret Servicemen were “like our brothers.”
- When asked if the criticism of their parents bothers them, Jenna didn’t hesitate. “Our parents were home every day when we were going to school. We were 18 when we started living in the White House. We know who our parents are, so we ignore the B.S.”
Both girls spoke of the work and scenes that they had witnessed throughout the world especially in regards to HIV/AIDS. Barbara felt, “There’s an interest by young people about global health.”
Admitting that their work with the needy in Haiti, Guatemala and throughout the world was a unique opportunity, they advised the audience that they could experience the same gratification by getting involved and supporting local groups like Nexus and making a world of difference.