The weather could only be described as scorching that day at the Double-R Ranch. Small clusters of people formed a crowd that milled around between the corral and long, empty tables waiting for food. The children were getting hot and restless. Beneath the willow trees a wife straightened her husband's blue collar and a mother pushed her daughter's wheelchair into the shade. Over by the lemonade stand, a group with cameras slung over their necks stood around looking for leaks.
The owner of the place, the one his friends called The Cowboy, stood before them to answer the question that was on everybody's mind: Why are we all here? The invitations had said simply, "Come for lunch to be followed by entertainment."
The Cowboy announced with a smile that crinkled his wrinkles, "You're here as fine Americans representing other fine Americans. You're here because I want you to know that I care. I want you to put yourselves in my hands. And now if you'll all just be patient, lunch will be here in a moment."
He walked briskly back to the ranchhouse to find his wife, who was rushing busily around the kitchen overseeing the preparations. She was just about to walk outside with a stack of her best china, when The Cowboy caught her and said, "Not for these people. Remember--we want to do our best to seem just like them. And, Fancy, that dress looks like it belongs in a museum. Don't you have anything that looks like something Eleanor Roosevelt would have worn? Something a little more casual."
Fancy smiled at his suggestions and brought up the subject of the food: "Don't you think chocolate sundaes, apple pie, and submarine sandwiches is a bit unbalanced?"
"Fancy, we're going to let these people know that we believe first of all in God, country, and a strong defense. They'll just have to learn to swallow it."
"I suppose it is more nutritious than the school lunch program."