(Vicariously) Riding with Reagan

My two high school students, Lucy (17) and Jonathan (15), both had the privilege of attending the Young America's Foundation High School Conference at the Reagan Ranch Center last month.

You can read about Lucy's adventures in Washington D.C. (which include a run in with the Capitol police) last year here.

This was Jonathan's first time attending a YAF conference and he was excited about a few things:

  • A weekend (without parental units) in Santa Barbara. (Win!)
  • Getting to visit the Reagan Ranch. (Major Win!)
  • Meeting John Barletta. (Epic Win!)

I know you're wondering, "Who is John Barletta and why was Jonathan so excited about meeting him?"

John Barletta happens to be the longest-serving Secret Service agent under President Reagan. So cool, right? His book, Riding with Reagan shares what it was like to ride (horses!) every day with Ron and Nancy Reagan at the magical Rancho del Cielo, better known as the Reagan Ranch, in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Rancho del cielo

Jon had just finished reading John Barletta's book. An excellent read, by the way. It's a wonderful and intimate glimpse of Ronald Reagan as just a man who loved horses and a simple life. (Here's the Amazon link.) And he grew to admire the author.

Eric and I had read the book after visiting the Ranch a couple of years ago and so we enjoyed lots of dinner conversations relating John Barletta's wonderful anecdotes concerning his time serving as Ronald Reagan's friend and protector.

Riding with reagan

So Jon was super pumped about meeting John Barletta.

See the look on Jonathan's face that says, "This guy RODE WITH RONALD REAGAN! He's a total Rock Star!"

Jon and John 

My Jon with John Barletta.

I'm so glad Jonathan was able to meet one of his heroes.

Lest you begin thinking that because he's been homeschooled his entire life, that perhaps my son is not a typical teenager, let me just also point out that his other heroes include Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton...

...but that's not important right now. ;-)

Guitar man

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~Ronald Reagan