The Lucky Carnation
January 8th, 1897, it was a cold day in White House. No matter what the President did he could not stay warm, it felt as if there was a chill chasing him from room to room of the White House as he sought to find a room that was warmer than the last.
He passed the servants quarters, one of their doors was open. At this time of night there was usually no one awake, but the door had been left open. Not trying to be nosy but curious the President stopped before the door he reached across the threshold to grab the knob. He did not know who lived in this room, nor did he care. But the warmth of it was more than inviting. It was a plain room as most of the servant quarters where, but the hearth was full of life. Casting a warmth that chilled his arthritic bones. He stood before the blaze in the fire place and warmed himself.
It was just another one of those nights when the President could not sleep, he was still dressed in his suit from early in the day, having never made his way to bed. He would sit for hours each night and read trying to bring weariness a pun his mind, so he could doze off to sleep. But tonight something was nagging him in the back of his mind and he did not know what it was. He was cold and ached. He took a walk as he sometimes did late at night after reading through the White House, he would contemplate those that had lived her before him this great house and those that would follow him. Despite the walking the cold seemed to follow him where ever he went till it drove him to seek warmth.
He was beginning to feel the work of the day catch up with him. He thought to warm himself a little longer for the chilly walk back to his room.
“Pardon me Sir,” a female voice broke the presidents thoughts. He turned to confront whom he presumed to be the occupant of the room he found himself in.
There was one of the servants he recognized the face, but could not remember the name. She was the grand daughter of a freed slave that been employed at the white house. He knew she was a 3rd generation employee. There was something else he remembered about her but he could not place a finger on it. She carried in her hand the chamber pot and politely slid it under the bed.
“May I help you Mr. President William,” she said. She awaited his response courtly.
“My apologies my dear, I was having trouble sleeping as I often do and decided to take a walk. I got cold, found your door open and the warmth was so inviting to these old bones,” The President replied.
“This is your house Sir,” She said. “I can leave you alone if you like.”
“No I was just leaving hope I did not impose on you,” the President said. He stopped before her and gave her a smile. Then it hit him, he remembered something about her now that he had forgotten.
She was rumored to have the sight, as did her mother before her, and her’s before her.
“Is there something else Sir?” she questioned, looking at him with her big brown eyes.
“Well actually there is my dear, I have heard that you have the sight. That you can see things that will happen.” The President responded.
“Yes I can get a glimpse of the future some times, by not like my grand mum she had more of the vision that I do.” She wrung her hands before her, somewhat embarrassed that she would be remembered for something that she like to keep secret.
“Could you tell me what you see in my future?,” the President asked.
“I could try,” she said. The servant woman motioned for the President sit in the chair next to the fire place.
Once sat, the president stared up at her not knowing what to expect. “Give me your hands,” she said. Standing before the president she looked at the back of his hands, then turned them over to examine the palms. “This one will do,” she said holding on to his right hand. She studied it for a few moments, then she finally she spoke.
“I see that you will win the war against the Spanish.” she said. She traced her finger along a line in his palm. “Wait I see,” she paused and looked up at the President.
The President looked into her eyes, and knew she had seen something else. “What is it my dear?”
She swallowed. “I see that you are protected by something that you wear, but you will give this protection away and it will mean your death is to follow.”
The President looked at her, he was some what aghast. He personally did not believe in spiritualism or ?fortune telling, but he did find the subjects interesting. “Can you tell me what this protection is?” he asked.
“No Sir, I can not see it, but I know it is something that you always wear.” She released his hand.
The President bid her good night and not to concern herself with what she had seen. He walked back to his room he was no longer cold trying to forget what he had heard.
* * *
September 6, 1901. The President prepared to enter the hall where the Pan-American exhibit was being held. He noticed a small girl struggling to see him through the gathered adults. He stopped removed his carnation that he always wore for good luck and handed it to the girl. A second later a gun shot rang out. A bullet struck the President in the chest where the carnation had been.
President William McKinley died eight days later.
(C)opyright 2013. R. Archer. All Rights Reserved.